Tropical Storm Nestor downgraded, expected to bring rain to central NC Sunday

Tropical Storm Nestor was downgraded Saturday after it spawned a tornado that damaged homes and a school in central Florida but spared an area of the Panhandle devastated one year ago by Hurricane Michael.

Despite the storm downgrading, the storm is still expected to bring rain to North Carolina this weekend.

The Polk County Sheriff's Office said several homes were damaged and Kathleen Middle School had a large section of its roof torn off when the tornado hit late Friday near Lakeland, about an hour's drive southwest of Orlando.

The National Hurricane Center said Nestor lost its shape Saturday and became a post-tropical cyclone, but that the system still packed high winds and dangerous storm surge along the northern Gulf Coast. The system could dump from 2 to 4 inches of rain from the central Gulf Coast to the eastern Carolinas and as much as 6 inches in spots, forecasters said.

Forecasters said Nestor was centered Saturday near Panama City, Florida. It had top sustained winds of 50 mph and was moving to the northeast at 9 mph.

Forecasters expect blustery winds and heavy rain in parts of Alabama, Georgia and northern Florida, reaching the Carolinas and Virginia by Sunday.

In Central North Carolina, the heaviest rain will fall through the overnight hours. Sunday will begin with scattered showers but rain will taper off around noon. Rainfall totals will range between 1 to 3 inches on average. Winds will gust as high as 25-30 mph in our northern counties and close to 40 mph in the Sandhills. There's also a chance for a brief spin up tornado across southeastern North Carolina.
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