Colquitt County Emergency Management Director Russell Moody reported a storm in the Gulf of Mexico has achieved tropical storm strength and has been named Tropical Storm Nestor.
Moody participated in an update phone call with the National Weather Service at 2:30 p.m. Friday and reported the change to The Observer in a series of texts after that call.
Moody said the update brought no significant change to the forecast for Colquitt County.
"Winds about the same, slightly increased," he texted.
Earlier he said Colquitt County may experience winds 39-57 miles an hour between 8 a.m. and midafternoon Saturday.
MOULTRIE, Ga. — Colquitt County officials and residents are making preparations for what could be a tropical storm to come through the county on Saturday.
Colquitt County Emergency Management Director Russell Moody warned this morning that Tropical Cyclone 16 forming in the Gulf of Mexico could bring winds of 39 to 57 miles an hour here.
The storm is expected to reach tropical storm strength — sustained winds of 39 miles an hour. If it does, it will be named Tropical Storm Nestor.
A track for the storm had a “best guess” taking the center of the storm across the Florida Panhandle, with Colquitt County well inside the “cone of uncertainty.”
"It's a complicated scenario," said Eric Bunker, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service's Tallahassee, Fla., office. "High-level shearing action over the Gulf right now may slow it's strengthening."
The storm, "now little more than a collection of thunderstorms," may merge with an upper level disturbance over Texas, he said. "We're still watching the models."
Bunker said winds of 45-50 mph are expected in the Panhandle. About three to five inches of rain are expected in north Florida, with two to three inches possible in South Georgia.
"It should be a fast-moving system," he said, clearing the region by Sunday.
The National Weather Service website offers this forecast for Moultrie:
• Today: A 20 percent chance of showers after 2 p.m. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 72. East southeast wind 5 to 10 mph.
• Tonight: Showers likely, then showers and possibly a thunderstorm after 2 a.m. Some of the storms could produce heavy rain. Low around 63. Breezy, with an east wind 10 to 20 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New rainfall amounts between a half and three quarters of an inch possible.
• Saturday: Tropical storm conditions possible. Showers and possibly a thunderstorm. Some of the storms could produce heavy rain. High near 75. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New rainfall amounts between 1 and 2 inches possible.
• Saturday night: A 30 percent chance of showers before 2 a.m. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 60. Northwest wind 10 to 15 mph, with gusts as high as 25 mph.
• Sunday: Partly sunny, with a high near 77. Northwest wind around 5 mph.
Terry Richards of The Valdosta Daily Times contributed to this report.