National News

Tropical Storm Claudette forms off the Florida coast

Posted August 16, 2009 1:30 p.m. EDT
Updated August 16, 2009 2:02 p.m. EDT

— Forecasters say Tropical Storm Claudette has formed off the northern Gulf Coast of Florida and is expected to bring heavy rain to the area.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said the storm was expected to make landfall Sunday evening. Forecasters say the storm's winds have increased to 40 mph, just above the threshold to become a named storm.

Residents were urged to prepare for the storm that popped up early Sunday with batteries, flashlights and water.

Rainfall of 3 to 5 inches was expected, with some isolated areas to get up to 10 inches.

Claudette could increase the chance of rain in western North Carolina by mid-week, WRAL meteorologist Mike Moss said. He added that some models have the system moving up the Mississippi River valley and missing North Carolina altogether, so it's too early to tell if the storm will impact the state.