Tropical Depression 9 could become hurricane before reaching Florida

Tropical Depression 9, center, could strengthen to a hurricane before hitting land on Florida's Gulf coast Thursday. Meanwhile, Tropical Depression 8, at right, is weakening. Image courtesy NOAA

MIAMI, Aug. 31 (UPI) — Tropical Depression 9 is expected to become a tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico and could potentially reach hurricane strength before it reaches Florida on Thursday.

Tropical Depression 9, about 400 miles south southwest of Apalachicola, Fla., has maximum sustained winds of 35 mph and is moving north at a speed of 2 mph.

The National Hurricane Center has issued a tropical storm warning for Florida’s Gulf coast from the Anclote River to the Walton/Bay County Line. The center also issued a hurricane watch from the Anclote River to Indian Pass, meaning hurricane conditions are possible within the area.

“Strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and the depression is expected to become a tropical storm later today, and could be near hurricane strength by the time landfall occurs,” the National Hurricane Center warns. “Tropical Storm conditions are expected to first reach the coast within the warning area on Thursday afternoon.”

Up to 10 inches of rain could fall in central and north Florida through Friday. Some isolated parts could see up to 15 inches. Tornadoes could also occur, mainly in central Florida.

The tracking forecast of the storm system shows that after making landfall and passing through Florida, the storm could pass through affect Georgia and the Carolinas as it would be near the East Coast.

Once in the open Atlantic Ocean, the storm system could return and near the coast of the northeast United States — threatening Rhode Island and Massachusetts.

Meanwhile, Tropical Depression 8 is moving slowly northeastward away from the North Carolina coast and into the open Atlantic Ocean. The storm has maximum sustained winds of 35 mph. The storm system could become a depression on Wednesday but no coastal watches or warnings are in effect and the storm is not expected to affect land.


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