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Florida gets tropical storm warning as next depression close to formation


A Tropical Storm Warning has been issued for parts of Florida as the tropical system in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico was given a 90 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression within the next 48 hours, according to the National Hurricane Center’s 11 a.m. Thursday update.

“Potential Tropical Cyclone 16” has maximum sustained wind speeds of 35 mph and is forecast to move northeast later Thursday at 8 mph. The system is 140 miles east of Tampico, Mexico, as of the 11 a.m. update.

If it does become a tropical depression, it could then develop further into a tropical storm once it gains maximum sustained winds of 39 mph, and would then become Tropical Storm Nestor.

Many possible projections of the storm’s path make landfall in northern Florida, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed in its storm model.

The NHC issued several warnings and watches.

A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect from the Mississippi-Alabama border to the Ochlockonee River in Florida, as well as the Grand Isle, Louisiana to the Mouth of the Pearl River, the NHC said.

A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect east of the Ochlockonee River to Yankeetown in Florida.

There is also a Storm Surge Watch is in effect from Florida’s Indian Pass to Clearwater.

Tropical storm conditions are expected to first reach the coast within the warning area by late Friday, the NHC said.

One possible projection has the storm making landfall at Tyndall Air Force Base, the same location Category 5 Hurricane Michael made landfall last year.

Much of the area surrounding Tyndall is still devastated, including Mexico Beach, where about 75 percent of the city was destroyed, said Mexico Beach Mayor Al Cathey.

The major roadway of the area, U.S. Highway 98, is still remains closed.

It would become the 16th tracked system of the Atlantic hurricane season, which

The system is in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico, where the environment is favorable for tropical maturity. So much so, the hurricane center expects to see development into a depression later Thursday.

NHC satellite wind data has already detected the system producing wind strength near tropical-storm forces, the NHC said.

“The low is forecast to approach the northern or northeastern Gulf Coast on Friday or Saturday and regardless of development, the system is likely to produce gusty winds and rough surf over those areas,” said NHC senior hurricane specialist Jack Beven.

An Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft is scheduled to investigate the system Thursday afternoon, NHC said.

This article was originally published on  orlandosentinel

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