Brewing in the Gulf of Mexico, Tropical Storm Claudette was bringing heavy rain to the Florida Panhandle on Sunday, and was likely to become the first tropical storm to strike the U.S. mainland this year. Two other storms — Ana and Bill — steamed across the Atlantic, still east of the Leeward Islands. On Sunday, Ana weakened to a tropical depression, its top winds at 35 mph, The Associated Press reports.
Claudette hit about 1:15 a.m. near the eastern end of Santa Rosa Island, just southeast of Fort Walton Beach in Florida, the National Weather Service said.
It is expected to move into southern Alabama later Monday morning and into northeastern Mississippi on Monday night.
Even before Claudette made landfall, the storm's outer bands pounded the area with heavy rain, with officials warning that some coastal areas had the potential for localized flooding, CNN informs.
According to Bloomberg, Hurricane Bill formed over the Atlantic Ocean, about 1,160 miles (1,870 kilometers) east of the Lesser Antilles, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. Maximum sustained winds were near 75 miles per hour, just over the threshold for a hurricane, the center said. Along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, Tropical Storm Claudette weakened as it moved inland toward Alabama, with maximum sustained winds near 40 mph.
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