A storm moving off the coast of Florida and Georgia is now more likely to become the first system of the 2015 hurricane season, forecasters said Thursday.
The storm, which dumped heavy rain on South Florida on Tuesday, has a 80 percent chance of becoming at least a tropical depression as it moves north and then northwestward toward the Carolinas, said forecasters with the National Hurricane Center. Whether or not a system materializes, forecasters warn that the Southeast coast of the U.S. could still have heavy rain beginning Thursday.
Overnight, the system slowed, allowing the storm to become more organized. Ocean temperatures are running between three and five degrees warmer than normal, enough to fuel the storm.
A hurricane plane is scheduled to investigate the system more closely Thursday morning.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Bradenton Herald
The 2015 hurricane season officially begins June 1. Premature storms are rare, but not unheard of. In 2012, Tropical Storm Beryl formed off the Carolinas before heading southwest to strike Florida.