The National Weather Service says a tropical system in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico is expected to turn into Tropical Storm Nestor today.
As of 7 a.m. central time this morning (Friday, October 18, 2019), the system has winds of 40 miles per hour and is moving at a fast pace northeast at 21 miles per hour.
The system is expected to make landfall in the area of Panama City, Florida as a tropical storm late Saturday morning the be over Albany, Georgia by Saturday afternoon.
Tropical storm warnings have been issued from the Mississippi/Alabama border to the Ochlockonee River, Fla. and from Grand Isle, La. to the mouth of the Pearl River. A storm surge watch is in effect from Indian Pass to Clearwater, Fla.
The storm is forecast to make a turn toward the northeast by Thursday afternoon or later, and then move in a northeastward motion “at a faster forward speed” by Friday into Saturday.
Forecasters said that tropical-storm-force conditions are expected to reach coastal areas by late Friday, “making outside preparations difficult or dangerous.”
Besides the wind, the system is forecast to bring between 2 to 4 inches of rain across the central Gulf Coast, northern and central Florida, and the eastern Carolinas with isolated five-inch amounts.
Nestor could also bring the threat of a storm surge of up to 5 feet in some locations.
If the system strengthens into a tropical storm, it would be the 14th named storm of the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has said it expects 10-17 named storms this hurricane season, with winds of 39 mph or higher, of which five to nine could strengthen into hurricanes. Of those storms, there will be two to four major hurricanes, which are classified as Category 3, 4, and 5 with winds of 111 mph or higher.
The 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, and this year includes the names: Andrea, Barry, Chantal, Dorian, Erin, Fernand, Gabrielle, Humberto, Imelda, Jerry, Karen, Lorenzo, Melissa, Nestor, Olga, Pablo, Rebekah, Sebastien, Tanya, Van, and Wendy.