OKALOOSA ISLAND —The water was rough and the wind was strong, but people still came to the beach to soak up the holiday sun on Sunday.
That was after a restaurant storage shed at The Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island caught fire Sunday morning when an electrical cord shorted out. Mike Simmons with the Okaloosa Island Fire Department said the sprinkler system kept the blaze in check until firefighters arrived, but supplies in the shed sustained significant water damage.
A few hours later, people packed the beach behind The Boardwalk and lined the Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier. As red beach flags flew, they waded in the water, fished, played beach sports and ate at the restaurants.
Looking ahead, the weather most likely will take a turn for the worse as a tropical disturbance in the Bahamas makes it way northwest toward the Gulf of Mexico and the Panhandle.
Joe Maniscalco, meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Mobile, Alabama, said his agency is monitoring the system for possible development. He said the Weather Service will release more information as the storm develops, but that the National Hurricane Center listed it as having an 80 percent chance of developing tropical storm-force winds or more by Tuesday or Wednesday.
"Right now the local impacts for the central Gulf Coast heading into the week is a high risk of dangerous to potentially deadly rip currents," Maniscalco said. "For those folks that are heading down to the beaches for the Labor Day holiday, we stress that they heed the advice of local beach patrols and flag-warning systems."
Maniscalco also warned of potential heavy rain and possible coastal flooding from Monday evening to Wednesday morning.
"At this point in time, we think that'll be a little more focused along the Gulf Coast and then up into the portions of southern and interior southeast Mississippi."
As of 7 p.m. Sunday, the National Hurricane Center had the tropical disturbance moving west-northwest at 15 mph with 30 mph maximum sustained winds.
Meanwhile, 25-year-old Brittany Elaine Spires of DeFuniak Springs was still listed in critical condition Sunday afternoon at Bay Medical Center in Panama City. She was a passenger in a vehicle that was involved in a crash late Friday at the intersection of U.S. Highway 98 and County Road 283 in South Walton County. Three people were killed in accident, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.