At 4am Friday, the National Hurricane Center upgraded its advisory for the West Coast of Florida to a Tropical Storm Warning, giving “Potential Tropical Cyclone One” a greater than 60 percent chance of becoming Tropical Storm Alex before making landfall. Hurricane hunter aircraft are investigating the storm and have found that the disturbance is producing tropical-storm-force winds.
The storm is currently building over the Southern Gulf of Mexico and the National Hurricane Center says it could bring up to a foot of rain to parts of Florida, creating concerns about flash flooding and some wind damage across a broad swath of the state.
According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), the system is moving toward the northeast near 6 mph (9 km/h), and this general motion with an increase in forward speed is expected to begin later Friday and continue through Sunday. On the forecast track, the system is forecast to move across the southeastern Gulf of Mexico through Friday evening, across the southern and central portions of the Florida Peninsula on Saturday, and then over the southwestern Atlantic north of the northwestern Bahamas Saturday afternoon through Sunday.
The NHC also reported that data from an Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft found maximum sustained winds have increased to near 40 mph with higher gusts. The system is expected to develop a
well-defined center and become a tropical storm later today, and some slight strengthening is possible while it approaches Florida today and tonight.
The storm is a resurgence of the category two Hurricane Agatha, which made landfall in Oaxaca, Mexico over the weekend, killing nine people. After crossing Mexico, the storm apart, but is now reforming.
The heaviest rain is expected in Florida Friday through Sunday before shifting out to sea, missing Georgia and the Carolinas. The NHC also warned of potential damaging winds and storm surge.