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Nestor Is Set to Storm Into Florida Panhandle With Needed Rain

Brian K. Sullivan

(Bloomberg) -- Tropical Storm Nestor was set to drop in on the Florida panhandle Saturday with high winds and rain that will miss the nation’s energy hub along the Gulf of Mexico coast but could bring needed moisture to area crops suffering from drought.

Nestor was located in the Gulf about 75 miles (121 kilometers) southwest of Apalachicola, Florida, and moving at around 17 mph, according to a 4 a.m. New York-time advisory by the U.S. National Hurricane Center. The storm could produce a 3-5 foot storm surge, though its winds are expected to diminish once it hits landfall, the center reported.

Nestor will move quickly to the northeast after it arrives on the panhandle Saturday, cutting across Georgia and South Carolina before rolling out to sea, said Dan Pydynowski, a meteorologist with AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, it will provide plenty of moisture at a time when about 65% of the U.S. Southeast is snared by drought, according to the Drought Monitor in Lincoln, Nebraska.

“There is going to be some localized flooding problems in some areas, but for a lot of the region, when push comes to shove, it is going to be a benefit,” Pydynowski said, calling Nestor a “quick mover” that will tamp down any flooding issues.

With its baptism by the hurricane center on Friday, Nestor becomes the 14th named storm in the Atlantic this year. By Sunday, Nestor is expected to be over the Atlantic off the coast of North Carolina or Virginia.

Nestor’s rains will help soak soils but won’t eliminate the drought altogether, said Dan Hicks, a meteorologist at Freese-Notis Weather in Des Moines, Iowa. The hurricane center said the dry soil will probably decrease the risk of flash flooding from heavy rains.

“In the long term this should be a benefit,” Miller said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian K. Sullivan in Boston at bsullivan10@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Tina Davis at tinadavis@bloomberg.net, Reg Gale

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