Tropical Storm Noel expected to continue dumping rain on Fla.


A satellite image of Tropical Storm Noel at 7:15 a.m. Noel is expected to skirt the state's coast.

NESDIS Satellite Services Division/NOAA
Published: Thursday, November 1, 2007 at 8:10 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, November 1, 2007 at 8:10 a.m.

MIAMI - Forecasters upgraded a tropical storm warning Thursday for parts of southeastern Florida, which was expected to continue feeling windy and rainy conditions steered toward the state by Tropical Storm Noel and a separate weather system.

The 14th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season was headed toward the Andros Island in the northwestern Bahamas early Thursday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

At 8 a.m. EDT, Noel's center was about 110 miles southwest of Nassau, Bahamas, and 175 miles southeast of Miami. The storm was moving erratically toward the north at 6 mph, but was expected to eventually turn northeast away from Florida, forecasters said.

It had top sustained winds near 60 mph, with stronger gusts, forecasters said. Tropical storm-strength winds extended up to 130 miles from Noel's center.

"These winds are close enough to the Florida coast that any deviation to the left of the forecast track would bring them onto the Florida coast," senior hurricane specialist Jack Beven said.

A tropical storm warning was issued early Thursday for coastal Miami-Dade and Broward counties, an area already being buffeted by strong winds and high surf. A warning means tropical storm conditions are expected in the area within 24 hours.

A tropical storm watch, meaning storm conditions are possible, continued for coastal Palm Beach County.

The agency warned gusty winds swirling between Noel and a high-pressure system over the East Coast would continue hitting Florida through Thursday as Noel was expected to skirt the state's coast. Up to 2 more inches of rain could be dumped onto an already soggy South Florida, forecasters said.

Wind and waves washed out beaches from the Georgia border to Miami and threatened a handful of coastal structures, but damage so far was minimal.

Noel and a tropical depression were the only two tropical weather systems to form in October below the average, which typically sees two tropical storms and one hurricane form. The Octobers of 2006 and 2007 were the quietest consecutive Octobers since 1993 and 1994, according to the National Hurricane Center.

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