Nestor made landfall on St. Vincent Island, Fla., as a post-tropical cyclone Saturday afternoon and reports of tornado damage in the state have already emerged, according to the National Hurricane Center and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
The former tropical storm has caused at least three tornadoes in Florida, the Associated Press reported.
The Polk County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement on Facebook that a tornado touched down in the western and northwestern parts of the county late Friday night, causing damage to homes and property, “some of it severe.” There were reports of downed power lines and trees but no serious injuries had been reported as a result of the tornado, the statement said. A large chunk of Kathleen Middle School’s roof was torn off when the tornado hit late Friday, according to the AP.
We received reports of tornado damage overnight in Polk County & we are working with @FLSERT to survey damage & assist impacted areas. TS #Nestor is continuing to produce severe weather today, including the possibility of tornadoes across Central FL. Please monitor this storm. pic.twitter.com/lqQ0Udyxcb— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) October 19, 2019
Tornado debris flying around I-4 near Polk Highway-— Irene Sans (@IreneSans) October 19, 2019
Friday 10-18 courtesy Melissa Korta.
Escombros por tornado volando por la interestatal 4 cerca de Polk Hwy. #polk #tornado #nestor pic.twitter.com/0rGMKN19j7
The post-tropical cyclone’s “strong gusty winds” are still affecting the Gulf Coast along the eastern Florida panhandle, the NHC stated. The agency says the storm could cause tornadoes Saturday over east-central Florida, along the Georgia coast and into the Carolinas.
After hitting Florida, the storm is projected to “move offshore of the coast of North Carolina into the western Atlantic by late Sunday” as a post-tropical cyclone, according to the NHC.
Nestor is currently about 5 miles west-southwest of Apalachicola, Fla., according to a 1 p.m. forecast from the center. It’s moving east-northeast at 23 mph, with maximum sustained winds at 45 mph. Forecasters do not expect the storm to strengthen before Nestor moves further inland later on Saturday afternoon.
The sun is rising over Tropical Storm #Nestor, as seen in this GOES-East satellite loop. The center of the storm is just off the coast of the Florida Panhandle: https://t.co/EDsxgZxoz4 pic.twitter.com/Mq3snNg0Cb— AccuWeather (@breakingweather) October 19, 2019
The post-tropical storm has created “beach hazards along the Gulf Coast,” including rip currents and coastal flooding.
Post-tropical storm Nester is also producing beach hazards along the Gulf Coast. Rip currents, high surf, and coastal flooding are occurring across portions of the Gulf Coast. Rip currents and other beach hazards are also possible along the Southeast coast. https://t.co/A2gpuUxp0B— National Weather Service (@NWS) October 19, 2019
Tropical storm warnings have been posted from Ochlockonee River to Suwanee River, Fla., and has been discontinued west of Ochlockonee River and south of Suwanee River. “Isolated flash flooding” could occur across the southeastern U.S. into Sunday morning, the National Hurricane Center states.
The storm is expected to dump a total of two to four inches of rainfall this weekend across parts of the U.S., with some isolated areas receiving up to eight inches.
All storm surge warnings have been discontinued.
Florida Gov. DeSantis tweeted on Thursday that the government is monitoring the storm and that residents should prepare for possible flooding and power disruptions.
We are closely monitoring a potential tropical system in the Gulf with @FLSERT. Forecasts are predicting heavy rainfall, gusty winds, isolated tornadoes & coastal flooding across NW Florida this weekend. Residents should prepare now for the chance of flooding & power disruption. https://t.co/VJbyZkvjFN— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) October 17, 2019
Tropical Storm #Nestor has formed & is approaching NW FL. Tropical storm force winds will be arriving later today & residents in the path of this storm should prepare now to avoid being caught outside in unsafe conditions. Remember to follow local media and @FLSERT for updates. https://t.co/A6qRKZoV2X— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) October 18, 2019
As Tropical Storm #Nestor impacts Florida overnight, it may produce isolated tornadoes & flash flooding. If a tornado warning or flash flood warning is issued in your area, please take action immediately. Stay tuned to local media for updates on conditions throughout the night.— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) October 18, 2019
Friday night high school football games from Alabama to the Florida panhandle had been canceled or postponed in preparation of the storm, according to the AP.