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Tropical storm watch issued in Florida as Tropical Depression 19 forms off East Coast

By Alex Harris, Michelle Marchante and Howard Cohen, Miami Herald on

Published in Weather News

MIAMI - Tropical Depression 19 formed Friday afternoon just off the coast of Florida, and it's on track to dump rain on the state over the weekend before reemerging in the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday.

The National Hurricane Center said the depression could strengthen into Tropical Storm Sally as soon as Friday evening, so a tropical storm watch was issued from South of Jupiter Inlet to north of Ocean Reef Friday.

The depression was the only system pointed at Florida as of Friday's 5 p.m. update from the National Hurricane Center, but there are six systems kicking around in the Atlantic Basin. That includes two tropical storms, with one of them predicted to become a hurricane over the weekend.

Forecasters said the depression was about 80 miles east of Miami Friday evening with 35 mph maximum winds. The latest track forecasts a landfall with near Category 1 wind strength near the Mississippi and Louisiana border on Tuesday afternoon.

The National Weather Service says the "soggy and unsettled weather pattern" may bring scattered to numerous showers and thunderstorms through the weekend. There's a 70% to 80% chance of showers and thunderstorms Friday through Sunday.

"Questions or concerns about the area of low pressure to our east? That's OK, it's hurricane season after all!" the weather service announced cheerfully on Twitter about the local system.

 

"Plentiful rain and storms are expected over the region this weekend," the service said, with localized flooding likely and lightning and waterspouts a concern in South Florida and the upper Keys.

Rain chances for much of Friday, including the Keys, are pegged at 50%. But that zooms to 80% Saturday before dipping to 60% Sunday and settling into a 30% to 50% range into Tuesday.

CBS4 meteorologist Lissette Gonzalez said "the juicy, unstable atmosphere" will keep Saturday soggy "and linger Sunday and it's not until Monday when we will see rain chances decrease."

Friday morning began with sun and spotty showers over parts of South Florida, like Weston, Kendall and the upper Keys, Gonzalez said, adding that we should see highs of 90 degrees before the skies open later in the day.

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