PUNTA GORDA, Fla. - Most of Florida was spared the heavy rain that forecasters believed Tropical Storm Henri would bring yesterday, as the system weakened into a tropical depression and moved quickly across the peninsula.
Rainfall totals in most areas affected by Henri fell considerably short of the 6 to 12 inches forecasters said would hit large portions of the state.
"It didn't dump as much rain as we thought it might," said hurricane specialist Jack Beven of the National Hurricane Center in Miami. "A lot of the rain stayed out in the gulf, and when the depression started moving, it moved much faster than we thought it would."
At 5 p.m. yesterday, Henri's center was 80 miles east-northeast of Daytona Beach, and the storm was beginning to strengthen over Atlantic waters. Its sustained winds were measured at 35 mph, below the 39 mph minimum threshold for tropical storm status. Tropical storm warnings for Florida were discontinued earlier yesterday.
Out in the Atlantic, meanwhile, rapidly strengthening Tropical Storm Isabel formed west of the Cape Verde Islands.
Isabel, the ninth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, had maximum sustained winds near 50 mph yesterday afternoon and was expected to continue strengthening as it moved west at about 12 mph. At 5 p.m., Isabel was centered about 725 miles west of the Cape Verde Islands.
"It's something to keep an eye on. It's a long way away," Beven said.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun