A tropical storm watch has been issued for parts of Florida as Tropical Depression Eighteen (TDE) arrives this weekend and carries into early next week. TDE developed in the northwestern Caribbean, and it’s expected to bring heavy rainfall to the South Florida region, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported Saturday.
South Florida, including the Florida Keys, is slated to get two to four inches of rainfall with a maximum total of six inches into Sunday. The rainfall could potentially result in flash flooding, especially in urban parts. A couple of brief tornadoes are also possible along the Florida Keys and southern Florida as early as Saturday afternoon and evening.
“The forecast track of the center lies about 35 miles southeast of the Upper Florida Keys and extreme southeast Florida,” NHC wrote in a statement on Twitter Saturday. “Most of the winds are expected to remain east of the center, only a slight deviation to the west of the expected track or an increase in the size of the wind field could bring tropical-storm-force winds across these land areas.”
The tropical storm watch has been issued for the central Bahamas, in addition to southeastern Florida and the Upper Florida Keys. The possibility of the depression strengthening into a tropical storm overnight is high. If it develops into a storm, it will be referred to as “Philippe.”
A tropical storm warning is currently in effect for the Cuban provinces of Isla de la Juventud, La Habana, Ciudad de la Habana, Matanzas, Cienfuegos and Villa Clara. The northwestern Bahamas have also received a storm warning, as conditions are expected to appear in these regions.
Storm conditions are slated to appear in the next 12-24 hours.
“While this is not currently a developed storm, we know how quickly weather can change and how important it is for every family to be prepared,” Florida Gov. Rick Scott said in a statement Friday. “Families in South Florida should pay attention to local weather updates and be alert for potentially heavy rain and flooding throughout the weekend.”
Scott added, “The state has been in contact with local emergency management leaders and while there are currently no unmet needs, we stand ready to respond to any potential impacts of this weather system.”
Local residents living in areas under storm watch are recommended to follow the Florida Division of Emergency Management on Twitter for updates pertaining to weather conditions. Floridians are also encouraged to visit FloridaDisaster.org to begin creating a preparedness plan ahead of the storm.