Tropical Storm Strengthens Near Florida Coast
MIAMI, FL – Right in time for the 4th of July, the National Hurricane Center has named Arthur the first tropical storm of the season. Beyond holiday plans, how might this storm affect citrus crops in the Southeast?
In a hurricane preparedness fact sheet for citrus growers, the University of Florida IFAS Extension says, “Tropical storm winds are sustained between 39 and 73 mph. At these velocities, light damage to groves will occur in the form of twigs and branches broken off trees, fruit knocked off, and the first and/or second row of trees on the windward side may have an occasional tree pushed over.” Luckily, this is not much of a concern.
At this point in the storm’s development, the main impact will be rain. "Some spots may pick up around 5 inches (of rain) if they get hit with the squalls," but rainfall is more likely to be 1 to 3 inches, said Tony Cristaldi, a Meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Melbourne, Florida. Tropical Storm Arthur's winds are expected to be 20 to 30 mph and could bring a foot or two of beach erosion, according to USA Today.
A tropical storm watch has already been issued for Florida’s east coast, from Fort Pierce to Flagler Beach. As of early Tuesday afternoon, CBS Miami reported that the storm was located 80 miles east-southeast of Cape Canaveral and was moving to the northwest at near 5 mph with maximum sustained winds of near 40 miles per hour.
Weather.com forecasts the storm from now through the holiday:
- Wednesday: A slow north-northeast crawl will continue. The system's center will likely move east of the northeast Florida coast. Situated over the Gulf Stream, Arthur will continue to gather strength.
- Thursday: Arthur should bend toward the northeast and accelerate, and will be located somewhere near or off the coast of the Carolinas. Arthur may be a strong tropical storm and has a chance of intensifying to a Category 1 hurricane.
- Friday: Arthur makes its closest approach to eastern North Carolina (Outer Banks), possibly extreme southeast Virginia, then takes a sharper northeast turn out into the open Atlantic, as the jet stream westerlies exert their steering influence.
Stay tuned to AndNowUKnow for developments on Arthur and any other tropical systems should they develop.