Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Tropical Storm Rocks Gulf Flood Watches Issued for 10 Florida Counties

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Tropical Storm Rocks Gulf Flood Watches Issued for 10 Florida Counties

Article excerpt

Tropical Storm Barry formed in the eastern Gulf of Mexico yesterday, charting a course toward the central Gulf Coast while sending bands of heavy rain across the drought-stricken Florida Peninsula.

The rain, however, let up in the First Coast and Southeast Georgia. Today there's a 45 percent chance of rain.

Meteorologist Jason Hess of the National Weather Service in Jacksonville said the forecast looks good for tonight's Tim McGraw concert at Alltel Stadium. Scattered showers similar to yesterday are expected today but should fade by sunset, Hess said.

The Jacksonville area has received 24.74 inches of rain this year, up 7 inches from this time last year, Hess said.

The city is still about 4 inches below what's considered normal, he said. A flood warning was lifted in Southeast Georgia yesterday after Woodbine received close to 9 inches of rain Wednesday, Phil Peterson of the weather service said.

Central and South Florida took the brunt of the rain yesterday. A reconnaissance aircraft found that a strong tropical wave in the eastern gulf had strengthened into the second named storm of the 2001 Atlantic region hurricane season.

At 3 p.m., Barry was 320 miles southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River, moving northwest at 5 mph with maximum sustained winds near 40 mph -- 1 mph above the threshold for named-storm strength. Some further strengthening was forecast through today.

"Watches or warnings may be required later tonight for portions of the north-central gulf coast," forecasters said.

An 'N Sync concert was postponed in Miami as dozens of communities got soaked by up to 8 inches of rain, producing isolated flooding of streets and some homes.

Flood watches were issued in 10 Central Florida and South Florida counties as the wave brought heavy rains into the state from the gulf and the Caribbean Sea.

"The system is moving very slowly," said Jere Gallup, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Miami.

Forecasters had called for 3 to 5 inches of rain through yesterday, but some areas had exceeded that by midday yesterday. …

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