Storms Put Gulf Coast, Others on Edge

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Tropical Storm Claudette is now moving deep into the Gulf Coast region.

Her punch was relatively painless, but the region may be getting more, as a full-blown hurricane gains strength in the Atlantic.

Claudette fizzled when she blew ashore, but still left her mark.  Some 40 mph winds made securing a sailboat treacherous for one sailor.

"It's almost like I had to lay down to keep from getting blown off," recalled sailor Paul Freudel.

An unidentified man in his mid-20s died along the Florida panhandle after being pulled from rough surf as Claudette approached.

Light flooding is affecting several Florida communities.

Parts of the Sunshine State and southern Alabama could receive as much as four inches of rain as Claudette marches inland toward Mississippi.

"The Gulf is more primed than usual for intensification this year, and that's what Claudette is showing us," explained AccuWeather meteorologist Joe Bastardi.

The tropical storm may serve as the wakeup call Americans need after experiencing a quiet hurricane season so far.
    
Just hours after becoming a hurricane, Bill's wind speed jumped to 90 mph and the storm is expected to gain even more strength in the coming days.
 
"Bill may cause great wailing and gnashing of teeth among forecasters next weekend," Bastardi said.  "Anywhere between the carolinas and the Canadian Maritimes,  you better keep an eye on it."
    
Then there's Ana.

She's been downgraded to a tropical depression, but if the storm remains in tact, AccuWeather forecasters predict Ana could redevelop into a stronger tropical system once she reaches the Gulf of Mexico later this week.

Forecasters are quick to remind Americans that their "warning cones," or predictions of regions the hurricane may affect, are hard to pin down this far out.

People are urged to stay on top of their local forecast as Hurricane Bill approaches.

The five-day forecast shows the storm passing Puerto Rico and heading straight to Bermuda.

After that forecasters will watch the swing he's expected to take along the East Coast.

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Jennifer Wishon is the White House correspondent for CBN News based in the network’s Washington, D.C. Bureau.  Before taking over the White House beat, Jennifer covered Capitol Hill and other national news, from the economy to the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Follow Jennifer on Twitter @JenniferWishon and "like" her at Facebook.com/JennWishon.