Tropical Storm Claudette weakens to depression. It may strengthen back to storm status

Tropical Storm Claudette has weakened to a depression Saturday evening, but is forecast to regain strength and return to tropical storm status by Sunday night.

Claudette is drenching Alabama and the Florida Panhandle as it continues to move inland.

As of the 5 a.m. update, the National Hurricane Center says Claudette weakened to 30 mph sustained winds as it moves east-northeast at 15 mph.

It reached tropical storm status around 5 a.m. as it crossed the 40 mph sustained wind threshold to become the third named storm of the season.

The tropical storm warning from the Mississippi/Alabama border to the Mouth of the Mississippi River and the warning on the Gulf coast have been discontinued by the 5 p.m. advisory.

However, a tropical storm warning is still in place for Cape Fear to Duck, North Carolina, Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds.

Forecasters say Claudette is expected to weaken a little more tonight as it continues to move farther inland across portions of the southeast U.S., however, it is forecast to become a tropical storm again when it moves across the Carolinas Sunday night or early Monday.

By Monday, forecasters predict Claudette will be over the western Atlantic Ocean.

Storm surge predictions for the area are low, around one to three feet, and there’s a potential for some tornadoes. But the real threat is rain, forecasters say.

National Hurricane Center’s Tropical Storm Claudette rain predictions.
National Hurricane Center’s Tropical Storm Claudette rain predictions.

Through the afternoon, portions of coastal Mississippi and Alabama, and the western Florida Panhandle could see 3 to 10 inches of rain, with isolated maximums of 15 inches.

NOAA has called for another active hurricane season, with 13 to 20 named storms.

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