Portions of Florida’s east coast are under a tropical storm watch as the likelihood has increased that Tropical Storm Humberto will form off the Atlantic Coast this weekend.
Forecasters are monitoring Potential Tropical Cyclone Nine, which is developing near the Bahamas. It now has an 80 percent chance of development by the end of the weekend.
Friday morning, forecasters with the National Hurricane Center said the system was located about 280 miles east-southeast of Freeport on Grand Bahama Island and moving northwest, with maximum sustained winds at 30 mph. Areas from the Flagler/Volusia county line to Jupiter Inlet are under the watch as the system is expected to approach Florida’s east coast Saturday or Saturday night.
Jeff Huffman, a meteorologist with the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network, says forecast confidence has increased that the system will now likely move near or just offshore of the Atlantic Coast this weekend.
“Overnight model data has come into better agreement that the developing storm will either hug the Atlantic Coast or stay just offshore,” Huffman said. “So this means it will primarily be a coastal event, and depending how strong it becomes will determine how significant the impacts.”
While the current forecast track has shifted to the east, portions of the Tampa Bay area still have between a 10 and 20 percent chance of experiencing tropical storm-force winds this weekend, and increased rain chances, according to hurricane center forecasters. It also could produce 2-4 inches of rain along the southeast coast, from central Florida into South Carolina.