A surprise tropical storm has made landfall in Florida

source
National Hurricane Center

Tropical Storm Emily has made landfall on Florida’s Gulf Coast.

The storm first hit land on Anna Maria Island near Tampa, according to the National Hurricane Center.

It’s dumping rain across the southern part of Florida’s peninsula, with the highest risks expected from flash flooding and heavy rain. Some areas could see up to eight inches of rain.

Emily, the fifth named storm of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, formed quickly off Florida’s coast on Monday and was expected to weaken as it moves inland and soaks some parts of the state.

Tropical Storm Emily

source
National Hurricane Center

Florida Governor Rick Scott, in a statement, urged residents to brace for heavy rainfall after the storm rapidly intensified overnight. Scott declared a state of emergency for 31 counties in the Tampa Bay area on Monday.

When the storm was situated about 45 miles (72 km) west southwest of Tampa Bay it carried winds of up to 45 miles per hour (72 km/h), the National Hurricane Center said.

It is expected to weaken to a tropical depression as it moves across the Florida peninsula on Monday night toward the Atlantic Ocean, potentially bringing up to 8 inches (20 cm)of rain in some areas.

A tropical storm warning has been issued for the west coast of Florida from Anclote River southward to Bonita Beach.

(Reuters reporting by Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru and Jonathan Allen in New York)