Tropical storm warning for parts of Florida, Cuba, Bahamas – Boston News, Weather, Sports

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Tropical storm warnings were issued Friday for much of the Florida Peninsula, Cuba and the Bahamas as a system that battered Mexico moves through the Gulf of Mexico and is expected to face heavy rain for the weekend and wind threatens.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said the storm was once known agatha in the Pacific Ocean will be known as Alex in the Atlantic Basin once it achieves tropical storm status.

A Friday night assessment from the hurricane center said the storm had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph (65 km/h), just above tropical storm threshold, but it remained labeled a “potential tropical cyclone” because it had few other characteristics exhibited that define such storms.

As of 8 p.m., forecasters said the system was about 300 miles (480 kilometers) southwest of Fort Myers, Fla., and was moving at about 7 mph (11 km/h).

A Hurricane Center assessment said the system is expected to “develop a well-defined center and become a tropical storm” as it nears Florida Friday night and through Saturday.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said most government services, like bus routes and trains, plan to operate normally over the weekend. Some events have been cancelled, she said, and while there’s no widespread fear of the storm, perhaps it’s best to make indoor plans.

“If there’s no need to go out, it’s probably better to stay home,” Levine Cava said at a news conference on Friday.

The mayor added that south Florida canal levels have been lowered to minimize flooding from heavy rains.

The storm warning affects both the Gulf and Atlantic coasts of Florida, from just below Tampa Bay and Daytona Beach to the Florida Keys and Dry Tortugas. Parts of Cuba, including the provinces of Pinar del Rio, Artemisa, La Habana and Mayabeque, and the northwestern Bahamas are also on alert, with tropical storm force conditions expected within 36 hours.

That The Atlantic hurricane season officially began on Tuesday. This is an unusually early start to the storm season, but not unprecedented for Florida.

The National Hurricane Center forecasts rainfall of up to 10 inches is possible in southern Florida, including the Florida Keys. The storm is not expected to produce large winds or large storm surges. But local flooding is likely and winds could be a bit strong.

“Heavy rain will affect South Florida and the Keys Friday and continue through Saturday,” the Hurricane Center said in an online post. Storm surges and floods are also forecast, the severity of which depends on the timing of the tides.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said the forecast was somewhat unusual as southwest Florida was expected to experience significant rain on Friday and windy but drier conditions on Saturday. “The rain actually beats the wind,” rather than the two coming together, he said.

“No one is going into emergency posture yet,” DeSantis said, but authorities would be watching for a strengthening storm. “We definitely have to be ready.”

Some cities and counties in Florida’s coastal and lowland areas, including Pembroke Pines and Miami-Dade County, offered residents sandbags to support their homes on Friday morning.

A Pacific storm, Hurricane Agatha caused flooding and mudslides that killed at least 11 people and left 20 missing in Mexico, officials said. It caused rivers to burst their banks, sweeping people away from homes while burying other victims under mud and rocks.

Agatha made history as the strongest hurricane on record to make landfall in May during the eastern Pacific hurricane season since 1949. Climate scientists say tropical systems are becoming stronger and more destructive due to global warming.

(Copyright (c) 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, transcribed or redistributed.)

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Nate Jones

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