Tropical Storm NESTOR formed in the central Gulf of Mexico Friday, and is rapidly moving NE towards the Florida Panhandle, with a landfall near Panama City Beach expected today. NESTOR will pass well south of Columbus, but will be close enough to bring some impacts to the Valley, since it’s a large system. By tonight, NESTOR will be flying NE away from us, and conditions will dramatically improve from West to East.
TIMING: Tropical squalls will rotate into the Valley throughout the day, bringing heavy downpours & blustery winds. The window for the heaviest rain & gustiest winds will be from around 8AM-4PM today, with rapidly improving conditions from SW to NE this evening.
TRACK & INTENSITY: NESTOR will make landfall near Panama City Beach this morning as a moderate tropical storm, with wind gusts approaching 60MPH along the Florida Panhandle coastline. NESTOR will then advance rapidly NE across southern Georgia later today, and into South Carolina by tomorrow night. Meanwhile the storm will be weakening.
IMPACTS: Generally, around the Valley, heavy rain will be the main threat, not wind. I’m still expecting widespread rainfall totals of 1-3”. However, those NW of 1-85 will see less of an inch of rain and gusts of only 15-25MPH at worst, since you’ll be further away from the center. In Columbus, I’m expecting about an inch of rain, with gusts in the 25-35MPH range at their peak. The worst weather will be south & east of Columbus, towards Eufaula, Americus, and Albany, where they will be closer to where NESTOR passes. These southern locations could see wind gusts exceed 40MPH, and rainfall totals of 2-3”, with isolated totals of 4”. Additionally, tornado threat will stay south of us.
Overall, this will be a minor event, and will quickly end by tonight. Sunday looks fantastic with lots of sunshine. Another cold front will approach Monday night, bringing a threat of strong thunderstorms. Something to keep in mind, but let’s worry about NESTOR first.