Weather alert: As tropical systems strengthen, Bradenton likely to see rain on Thursday

August 15, 2013 

The tropics. NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER

A low pressure system in the northwestern Caribbean Sea could develop into a tropical storm over the next few days as it moves towards the Gulf of Mexico, the National Hurricane Center said early Thursday.

Showers and thunderstorms associated with the system had decreased overnight, "however conditions are conducive for development," the Hurricane Center said at 2 a.m. EDT. The chances of it turning into a tropical storm or hurricane were 70 percent during the next 48 hours, and 80 percent during the next five days.

The disturbance is moving toward the west-northwest at 10 mph and should reach the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico later on Thursday, and the southern Gulf of Mexico on Friday. Heavy rains and gusty winds are forecast for western Cuba, the Yucatan and Belize, the Hurricane Center said.

Also stirring in the tropics is tropical depression 5 off the coast of Africa. The Hurricane Center said at 5 a.m. EDT it was approaching tropical storm strength as it passes southwest of the Cape Verde Islands.

As of early Thursday, most of the computer models tracked by Weather Underground have both systems staying away from Florida.

For Bradenton on Thursday, the National Weather Service is calling for partly sunny skies, with a high near 90 and heat index values as high as 97. The chance of rain is 70 percent, with showers and maybe a thunderstorm likely after 11 a.m.

Thursday night, the chance of rain drops to 50 percent. The expected low is around 75.

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