The National Weather Service announced at 1:08 p.m. Sunday that a tropical depression just south of the Florida panhandle had strengthened into Tropical Storm Claudette, making three active named storms in the Atlantic region.
A tropical storm warning was issued for the area from the Suwannee River west to the Florida-Alabama border.
The center of the storm is near latitude 29.0 north, longitude 84.9 west, 50 miles south-southeast of Apalachicola, Fla. Maximum sustained winds were around 40 mph, with movement to the northwest at 14 mph.
Claudette is expected to make landfall later this evening along the Florida panhandle, with the primary effect being heavy rains. No significant wind damage is expected.
Claudette joined tropical storms Ana and Bill, which are making their way across the Atlantic Ocean and expected to make life interesting for residents of the Caribbean and the East Coast later in the week.
According to Weather Channel meteorologists, Bill has the potential to develop into a major hurricane, although its track is still very difficult to forecast.