Tropical Storm hits Fla., rain coming to NEMS

A tropical storm that lost steam after blowing ashore Monday dumped rain on Florida and Alabama, while the first hurricane of this year’s Atlantic season picked up strength over open waters on a path toward Bermuda.

Hurricane Bill was expected to become a major hurricane in the next couple of days, with winds topping 110 mph. Hours after forming Monday, Bill’s top wind speed jumped to 90 mph as of 11 a.m. EDT.

In parts of the Florida Panhandle and southern Alabama, rainfall of 2 to 4 inches was expected as a weakened Claudette moved farther inland. The storm was downgraded to a tropical depression with winds of 30 mph hours after it made landfall near Fort Walton Beach.

The first named storm to hit the U.S. mainland this year was headed across Alabama toward northeastern Mississippi, but wasn’t expected to cause significant flooding or wind damage.

The storm was expected to move into northeastern Mississippi on Monday night.

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The Associated Press