Tropical Storm Mindy forms in Gulf of Mexico and is poised to make landfall in Florida tonight


(CNN) -- Tropical Storm Mindy, which formed in the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday afternoon, will make landfall in the Florida Panhandle within hours, the National Hurricane Center said in an evening update.

A tropical storm warning was issued for areas from Mexico Beach to the Steinhatchee River, according to the hurricane center. The warning affects more than 100,000 people.

The center of Mindy was about 25 miles west-southwest of Apalachicola and the storm had maximum sustained winds of 45 mph as of 8 p.m. ET.

Because the system is so close to land, there will be limited time for intensification. Mindy is forecast to move inland as a minimal tropical storm.

Heavy rain is expected to be the primary threat. Flash flood watches were in effect for portions of the panhandle. Some locations could pick up 2-4 inches of rain before Mindy exits into the Atlantic on later Thursday morning.

"This rainfall may produce isolated to scattered flash, urban, and small stream flooding," the hurricane center said.

There is also a threat of tornadoes, forecasters said.

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