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Tropical Storm Watch issued for Central and South Florida ahead of system


A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect over the Florida Keys and the peninsula from I-4 south valid through at least the start of the weekend.
Early Thursday evening, a disturbance off the Yucatan Peninsula strengthened into a Potential Tropical Cyclone. Additional weak intensification is expected, and forecasters at the National Hurricane Center say that it should become a tropical depression overnight, and could become a tropical storm on Friday afternoon.

Regardless of the magnitude of intensification, the forecast for interests in the southern half of the Florida peninsula remains the same. Bands of heavy rainfall are expected to push into South Florida from the southwest early on Friday morning, before migrating northeastward during the day. Excessive rain rates will be possible at times, and flash flooding will become a concern, especially from the area of Fort Myers east to Miami. Tropical storm strength wind gusts will also be possible. In addition, brief tornadoes will be possible over Alligator Alley and the Keys on Friday. The low level risk continues over the Keys on Saturday morning.

Models indicate that the system should move quickly over the state, exiting into the Atlantic Ocean by late Saturday night or early Sunday morning.

Updates to the forecast track, intensity, and potential hazards are expected, and that information will be posted at the top of this article.