TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The area of showers and thunderstorms in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico is likely to develop before making landfall in the northern Gulf Coast.
The National Hurricane Center is deeming it Potential Tropical Cyclone Sixteen as of 11 p.m. Thursday.
This naming does not mean it has organized into a tropical cyclone yet. It allows the National Hurricane Center to issue a track and watches and warnings to the areas that will potentially be affected.
Tropical Storm Watches and Warnings have been posted in coastal Levy and westward through the Panhandle.
Storm Surge Watches are in effect along the coast from Citrus County and to the north. Water level rises could be 1 to 5 feet along the Nature Coast.
The NHC deems a tropical wave or disturbance a potential tropical cyclone only if the area being monitored is likely to develop and impact land within 48 hours.
This is the case with PTC16. The disturbance will likely continue to organize and develop further on Friday.
Currently, the forecast has the storm moving onshore Saturday morning as a tropical storm in the western panhandle of Florida.
This would bring rain and some wind to the southeast United States with deep tropical moisture surging in.
Rain chances increase Friday and stay high through much of Saturday before coming down again Sunday.
Tampa Bay would likely see a breezy Friday evening and Saturday morning along with periods of rain. There will be an isolated tornado threat along the Nature Coast and the Big Bend of Florida.
The storm will then continue quickly northeast through the Carolinas and back into the Atlantic by Sunday afternoon.
LATEST FROM STORM TEAM 8:
- Wave Watch: Clouds stick around Friday, rain chances increase
- Storm Team 8 Forecast: A Front Brings Up Rain Chances Friday
- Geminid meteor shower peaks this weekend
- STORM TEAM 8 FORECAST: Breezy and warm today; stronger front Saturday
- Wave Watch: Winds pick up, clouds stick around Thursday on the water