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Palm Beach braces for tropical storm-force winds, possible flooding

Our Town with William Kelly: Palm Beach braces for tropical storm-force winds, possible flooding

Tropical storm force winds from Hurricane Ian are expected to arrive in this area at about 2 p.m. today, the town said in a storm update this morning.

Residents can expect heavy rainfall from multiple rainbands that may lead to flooding across all of South Florida.

Rainfall totals could range from 4 to 8 inches through Thursday with locally higher totals possible, the town said in its update. Flash flooding will be possible.

Hazardous marine and beach conditions are also expected, the town said.

“The winds are going to be blowing harder as we move forward into the day,” Town Manager Kirk Blouin said in an interview shortly before noon on Wednesday.

The town temporarily closed access points to the two guarded municipal beaches, and closed Town Hall to in-person business.

The Palm Beach Par 3 Golf Course and Clubhouse restaurant, and Phipps Ocean Park and Seaview tennis centers were closed on Wednesday. The Mandel Recreation Center was shut down at 1 p.m.

The Par 3 Golf Course will remain closed on Thursday, but the tennis centers are expected to reopen on Thursday, Blouin said.

Palm Beach and the rest of Palm Beach County remain under a tropical storm warning Wednesday morning due to Hurricane Ian, which was expected to make landfall on Florida’s southwest coast sometime on Wednesday. A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected within the warning area, generally within 36 hours.

The town suspended the collection of lawn debris, residential and commercial garbage, due to weather conditions. Collection was expected to resume on Thursday, the town said.

As of 11 a.m. Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center said the center of Ian was about 45 miles west-northwest of Naples, and moving north-northeast at 9 mph.

With maximum sustained winds of 155 mph, Ian as of Wednesday morning was just shy of Category 5 strength (157 mph) and was expected to make landfall near Cape Coral. The forecast path showed the storm moving in a northeasterly direction over Orlando and Daytona Beach, then turning northward over Jacksonville while hugging the east coast.

On Tuesday evening, the storm’s outer bands spawned multiple reported tornadoes across South Florida, including several in Broward County and one in Delray Beach.

Extended power outages can be expected in different parts of the state, Florida Power & Light said.

Blouin said Palm Beach has seen only light storm impacts, with no hazardous flooding, so far.

“There have been a few power outages, some flickering off for a few seconds and some lasting a little longer,” he said. “People should expect that for the next 24 hours.”

Anyone who loses power and wants to inquire about the length of the outage should contact FPL at 800-468-8243 to obtain that information.