FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. _Tropical Storm Sally came to life over the Gulf of Mexico Saturday afternoon, but South Florida is still feeling gusty winds and heavy rain in its wake.
Total rainfall of up to 6 inches is expected through Saturday night causing some urban flooding across South Florida. A tornado or two is also possible, according to the 2 p.m. EDT advisory from the National Hurricane Center.
The center of the disturbance was about 35 miles south-southeast of Naples. Rainfall up to 8 inches is expected in the Florida Keys.
The system has maximum sustained winds of 40 mph and is moving west at 7 mph, according to the hurricane center's latest public advisory Saturday.
A tropical storm watch was issued late Friday for parts of the Florida Panhandle, from Ochlockonee River to the Okaloosa/Walton County Line.
Tropical storm or hurricane watches could be issued for a portion of the Gulf Coast by late Saturday, the hurricane center said.
The National Hurricane Center is monitoring a total of six systems in the Atlantic, including Tropical Storm Paulette, Tropical Storm Rene and now Tropical Storm Sally.
A second trough of low pressure developed Thursday morning over the northeastern Gulf of Mexico. It is forecast to move over the northern and western Gulf of Mexico through early next week. It has a 30% chance of development.
Meanwhile, Rene is expected to strengthen into the season's fifth hurricane. It is expected to become a hurricane by Saturday, the hurricane center said Friday. Category 1 hurricanes form when maximum sustained winds are in the range of 73 to 95 mph.
As of 11 a.m. Saturday, Rene was about 1,255 miles east-northeast of the Leeward Islands, the eastern border of the Caribbean Sea. Top winds measured 35 mph. It was moving west-northwest at 13 mph. Tropical-storm-force winds extended 70 miles from its center. Models predict Rene to continue moving west before turning toward the northern Atlantic.