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The tropical disturbance in the Caribbean became Tropical Depression No. 14 on Sunday, and the National Hurricane Center thinks the storm has a more muscular future.
“Some strengthening is forecast during the next several days, and the depression is expected to become a tropical storm later today,” according to an advisory at 8 a.m. “The system could become a hurricane by Tuesday night or Wednesday.”
As for where the storm will be by that point, the forecast track takes it through the eastern Gulf of Mexico, meaning there might be some Category 1 preparation for residents of Florida’s Panhandle and southern Alabama this week.
Florida Governor Rick Scott announced he’ll declare a state of emergency later Sunday.
Tropical storm warnings are already in effect for Pinar Del Rio and the Isle of Youth in Cuba, as well as the Mexican coast from Tulum to Cabo Catoche for what would be named Michael.
No. 14’s sustained winds blew at 35 mph, just below tropical storm strength, at 8 a.m. With a movement of 3 mph, it’s almost loitering 100 miles east northeast of Chetumal, Mexico, and 240 miles south southwest of Cuba’s western tip.
The National Weather Service forecasts 2 to 4 inches of rain in the Florida Keys Sunday and Monday from the outer bands. Heavier showers are forecast for western Cuba (3 to 7 inches), as well as the Yucatan Peninsula, Belize and Northern Honduras (2 to 4 inches). Some parts of western Cuba might get up to 12 inches of rain.
The National Weather Service warned of possibly lethal flash floods hitting western Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Chiapas, Mexico and other parts of the Mexican and Central American Pacific coasts.