A tropical system — now known as Potential Tropical Cyclone One — gathering strength near the Yucatan Peninsula may become the first tropical storm of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season as it heads toward Florida, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The Hurricane Center late Thursday night issued a tropical storm warning for portions of the Florida peninsula and the Florida Keys. Heavy rainfall is expected to spread over portions of Cuba, southern Florida and the Florida Keys with possible flooding on Friday and Saturday, according to the 11 p.m. ET advisory.
In its 5 p.m. advisory Thursday, the Hurricane Center issued a tropical storm watch for most of Florida’s peninsula, including the state’s east and west coasts, Florida Keys, Lake Okeechobee and Florida Bay. A tropical storm watch also was issued for portions of Cuba and the northwestern Bahamas.
The system, which has maximum sustained winds of 35 mph, is expected to become a tropical depression late Thursday night or on Friday and a tropical storm late Friday or Friday night as it moves northeast over the Gulf of Mexico, according to the Hurricane Center.
If sustained winds strengthen to 39 mph, it would become Tropical Storm Alex, the first name on this year’s list of storm names for the Atlantic basin.
Regardless of development, the system could bring flooding rains across South Florida on Friday and Saturday, with some areas seeing 8 to 12 inches of rain. AccuWeather forecasters are predicting up to 20 inches in some areas.