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Monday, August 17, 2009

Tropical Storm Claudette makes landfall in Fla.

Tropical Storm Claudette has made landfall on the Florida Panhandle near Fort Walton Beach.

The tropical storm's arrival early Monday makes it the first to hit the U.S. mainland this year.

Claudette's maximum sustained winds are near 50 mph, but it's expected to weaken as it moves over land.

Forecasters say rainfall of 3 to 6 inches is expected, with isolated areas getting up to 10 inches along the Panhandle, the Big Bend region, central and southern Alabama and southwestern Georgia.

But Claudette is not expected to cause significant flooding or wind damage.

Lurking more ominously is Tropical Storm Bill, which was expected to turn into a hurricane Monday in the open Atlantic.