Gov. Rick Scott urged Florida residents, visitors and businesses across the peninsula Saturday to prepare for severe weather, heavy rain, and potential flooding as the National Weather Service monitors a developing tropical system that could impact the Gulf Coast as early as Monday morning.
The Florida Division of Emergency Management is closely monitoring the tropical system and will keep Floridians informed of any updates, according to a press release.
“We are closely monitoring this tropical system and its potential impacts on Florida’s Gulf Coast,” Scott said in the press release. “Our most important goal is protecting our families, visitors and communities, and we will take every action to make sure our state is prepared for this weather event.”
FDEM Director Bryan W. Koon said in the release the storm poses significant risks from flooding, damaging winds and tornadoes and rip currents.
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“This is expected to be a fast-moving storm, which means that it could mature very rapidly and very close, giving us little warning,” Koon said in the release.
Bay News 9 meteorologist Josh Linker said Saturday the area of disturbed weather in the Western Caribbean commanding attention in South Florida remains disorganized.
Over the next 24 hours, a low-pressure system will likely develop over the Yucatan Peninsula and move into the Gulf of Mexico late Sunday, Linker forecast. It appears somewhat likely a tropical low will be the result as it tracks toward the Gulf Coast of Florida.
“Some uncertainty remains in place as to exactly where along the Gulf Coast this low will track and more importantly, lots of uncertainty remains to its potential organization,” Linker said.
A tropical depression or tropical storm, or its effects will be approaching Manatee County on Monday bringing with it up to 8 inches of rain.
Manatee County Emergency Operations Center scheduled a 10 a.m. briefing Sunday to “make sure everyone is all set for this rain event,” said Don Hermey, county emergency management chief.
Flooding, rip tides and high surfs are concerns for Manatee County officials, Hermey said. Depending on the short-term development of this system, it is possible a tropical storm watch for Manatee County could be issued.
The National Weather Service has said things could get “kind of ugly Monday and into Tuesday,” Hermey said, adding some wind gusts could be upward of 30 mph.
“We are talking a rain event,” Hermey said. “It is a depression. It doesn’t look like it is escalating to much of anything. There will be more rain than usual. We have had a dry spell, which means it isn’t going to quickly absorb like it normally does.”
Regardless of exact track, expect rainy and windy conditions Monday. It appears likely this system will already be moving into the Atlantic Ocean by Tuesday, Linker forecast.
The system has a 70 percent chance of forming into a tropical storm by Monday, and an 80 percent chance of doing so in the next five days, according to the National Hurricane Center’s 2 p.m. Saturday advisory.
The system is not on a track to hit South Florida, but the region should expect heavy rains in the middle part of next week.
“Satellite imagery and surface observations indicate that a broad low-pressure area is forming over the northwestern Caribbean Sea, accompanied by thunderstorm activity that is currently poorly organized,” according to the NHC advisory. “This low is expected to gradually develop further tonight and Sunday as it moves near or over the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico and into the southern Gulf of Mexico. Subsequently, the low is likely to develop into a tropical cyclone as it moves northeastward across the central and eastern Gulf of Mexico early next week.”
If the system develops into a tropical storm, which is a real possibility over the Gulf, it would be named TS Colin.
Herald staff report. The Miami Herald, Bays News 9 and the National Hurricane Center contributed to this report.