A Tropical Storm watch has been issued for areas from the Jupiter Inlet through Volusia County as the would-be Humberto gathers steam.
FLORIDA — A tropical depression formed just east of the central Bahamas on Friday and forecasters expect it to become Tropical Storm Humberto on Saturday.
The National Hurricane Center said in its 4 p.m. CDT advisory that Tropical Depression 9 was about 240 miles east-southeast of Freeport, Grand Bahama Island, and was moving northwest at 8 mph.
Highest winds ere 30 mph and the central pressure was 29.80 inches.
A tropical storm watch was in effect for the area between Jupiter Inlet to Flagler-Volusia County line.
The system could bring high winds and heavy rain to portions of the Florida east coast.
A tropical cyclone is expected to brush South Florida this weekend with a bluster that could scoop into the central part of the state as it drags north through Jacksonville.
The system, which has not yet been named but was identified Thursday as Potential Tropical Cyclone Nine, is meandering over the southeastern Bahamas but is forecast to begin moving northwest as a fully-formed cyclone Friday.
If a tropical storm forms, it would be named Humberto.
The official National Hurricane Center path has it raking over the already devastated northern Bahamas as it gains tropical storm strength then heading to Florida with the center of the storm skimming the state beginning as far south as Boca Raton up to Jacksonville.
Friday is expected to be squally and wet in South Florida with damaging thunderstorm winds possible.
Palm Beach County could begin feeling sustained tropical storm-force winds Saturday afternoon spreading north through Saturday evening and Sunday.
Areas from the Jupiter Inlet through Volusia County are on a tropical storm watch, meaning sustained winds of 39 mph or higher are expected in that region within 48 hours.
The storm is expected to top out with sustained 50 mph winds and gusts to 65 mph, but it could maintain tropical storm prowess for several days over Florida before finally saying goodbye to the state Monday morning near Jacksonville.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for areas of the Central and northern Bahamas, including Eleuthera, the Abacos, Grand Bahama and New Providence, which includes the popular tourist port of Nassau.
A tropical storm warning means winds of 39 mph or higher are expected within 36 hours.
As of the 11 a.m. advisory from the NHC, the disturbance was 280 miles east southeast of Freeport, Grand Bahama with 30 mph sustained winds. It was moving northwest at 1 mph.
An Air Force hurricane hunter is enroute to investigate the disturbance.
No significant storm surge is expected with this system in the northwest Bahamas., but 3 to 5 inches of rain with up to 7 inches in some areas is possible.
NHC forecasters said the potential storm is moving northwest at 6 mph as two disturbances in the upper-level wind patterns spit out by a low pressure system in the Gulf of Mexico hold it back.
Those blips, called shortwave troughs, are expected to clear the area by late Friday into early Saturday, giving the system room to organize a defined center of circulation and become a full-fledged tropical storm.
It’s then that a more northwest path will ensue toward Florida.
The system has yet to decide on an exact path with models disagreeing about whether it will dig deeper into Florida or stay off the coast. The current track is a compromise and forecasters hope a more certain track will appear once the cyclone organizes.