Tropical Storm Emily weakens as it crosses central Florida




  • In US
  • 2017-07-31 19:59:59Z
  • By By Bernie Woodall
 

By Bernie Woodall

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (Reuters) - Tropical Storm Emily dumped heavy rain over much of Florida on Monday but caused no injuries or major property damage as it moved eastward across the state, the National Hurricane Center and state officials said.

Emily was expected to weaken to a tropical depression before it enters the Atlantic Ocean early Tuesday morning, according to the Miami-based hurricane center.

Emily, the fifth named storm of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, made landfall Monday morning on Anna Maria Island near the Tampa-St. Petersburg area and moved across the central part of the state.

At 2 p.m. ET (1800 GMT), the storm had maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour (64 kph), down from 45 mph (72 kph) three hours earlier.

Several school districts curtailed summer programs and the Sunshine Skyway Bridge over Tampa Bay, part of a major north-south interstate freeway, was closed for several hours because of high winds.

Florida Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in 31 of the state's 67 counties to allow for easier cooperation between agencies. By mid-afternoon, no evacuation orders had been given, Scott said at a press conference.

Along Florida's west coast from the Tampa-St. Petersburg area south to Naples, rainfall of 2 to 4 (5 to 10 inches) was expected, with isolated areas getting as much as 8 inches (20 cm), the National Hurricane Center said. Other areas in southern and central Florida were to get 1 to 2 inches of rain, it said.

(Reporting by Bernie Woodall in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Jonathan Allen in New York and Eileen Soreng in Bengaluru; Editing by Grant McCool and James Dalgleish)

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