The National Weather Service issued a coastal hazard warning Saturday for Tampa Bay communities, as Tropical Storm Debby formed in the Gulf of Mexico, causing building seas and higher tides along the west coast of Florida.
A high surf advisory is in effect for south Pinellas coastal communities, including St. Petersburg, Clearwater, Gulfport and St. Pete Beach. The high surf advisory is in effect until 8 p.m. Sunday.
Residents can expect some flooding along coastal roads through Sunday. Building surf and breaking waves increase the chance of rip currents.
Tropical Storm Debby is heading north, toward the Louisiana coast. But Debby is creating turbulent weather, with strong wind gusts up to 85 mph. Tropical Storm Debby is traveling at about 6 mph but the storm-force winds and rain extend for 175 miles.
An area of low pressure in the Gulf of Mexico already brought thunder showers to Tampa Bay communities since Wednesday. But that area of low pressure inetensified into a tropical storm Saturday that is expected to head north and west over the next 26 to 48 hours.