ORLANDO, Fla. – The National Hurricane Center on Thursday identified a system in the Gulf of Mexico as potential tropical cyclone one, which could impact Central Florida over the weekend.
A broad area of low pressure located over the northeastern portion of the Yucatan Peninsula continues to produce a large area of disorganized showers and thunderstorms over the northwestern Caribbean Sea and Yucatan Peninsula. Despite strong upper-level winds, this system is likely to become a tropical depression or tropical storm while it moves slowly northeastward over the northwestern Caribbean Sea and southeastern Gulf of Mexico during the next day or two.
News 6 meteorologist Jonathan Kegges said the system is expected to become a tropical storm Friday and could make landfall in southwest Florida Saturday.
The NHC said flash flooding and urban flooding are possible in South Florida and the Keys.
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Tropical storm watches have been issued for Osceola and Brevard counties.
Regardless of development, areas of heavy rainfall are likely across portions of the Yucatan Peninsula and western Cuba late Friday into Saturday. At this point, the heaviest rain looks to stay south of the Orlando metro area.
Computer forecasts, for the most part, keep the center of this system in south Florida.
Chances of the system developing into at least a tropical depression remain high at 90% over the next 48 hours and five days.
The first Hurricane Hunter missions of the Atlantic season are expected to get underway Thursday afternoon.
Additionally, east of Florida, a weak surface trough is producing disorganized showers and a few thunderstorms. Upper-level winds appear too strong for significant development of this system while it moves to the northeast, away from Florida.
Development chances are at 10%.
The first two named storms of the Atlantic season will be called Alex and Bonnie.