KEY WEST, Fla. - Tropical Depression 18 has formed in the Gulf of Mexico south of Cuba and is expected to bring heavy rainfall and tropical storm force winds to South Florida, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The storm is currently about 380 miles southwest of Miami and moving northeast at 20 mph.
Central Florida -- particularly Brevard and Osceola counties -- could see heavy rain from this storm as early as Saturday night, said WFTV meteorologist George Waldenberger.
"A flood watch is in effect just south of our area, for Okechobee and Indian River Counties, but we’ll be watching in case some of this heavy rain can push in from the south and fall over southern Brevard and southern Osceola Counties," said Waldenberger
An Air Force reconnaissance aircraft measured maximum sustained winds at 35 mph with gusts up to 50 mph.
A tropical storm watch has been issued for the upper Florida Keys and southeast Florida, including coastal Miami-Dade.
The system is set to bring same impacts across the western Caribbean, the southern half of Florida and the Bahamas. Rainfall amounts could reach above 5 inches across parts of South Florida and around 1.5 in the southern tier of Central Florida.
A COLDER FRONT
The reason the depression is moving to the northeast is because a cold front, positioned over the central region of the U.S. Friday afternoon, is moving eastward and will sweep the tropical system toward the Atlantic.
This cold front is bringing the coldest air mass of this season so far across much of the U.S. From the Great Lakes to Texas, freeze warnings are in effect. In Florida, the front will not bring freezing temperatures, but it will bring a pronounced drop in temperatures, especially Monday morning.
The cold air mass will start to take over Sunday. Under partly cloudy skies, the highs will reach low 70s. Monday morning, temperatures will drop to the mid- to upper 40s across metro areas and in the low 40s in rural areas.
Central Florida could receive some heavy amounts of rain, mainly courtesy of the tropical depression, but the main bulk of the heavier showers and storms will be focused south of Orange County. Brevard, Osceola, Polk and extreme southern Orange County could receive over 1 inch of rain. The areas north of Orange will only receive up to one inch of rain, some perhaps not even reaching half an inch.
Pronóstico en español por nuestra meteoróloga Irene Sans
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