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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Parts of the Tampa Bay area have been placed under a tropical storm watch ahead of Potential Tropical Cyclone One.

Potential Tropical Cyclone One formed near the Yucatan Peninsula Thursday evening, according to the NHC. Forecasters started issuing advisories for the system at 5 p.m. ET.

In the first advisory, a tropical storm watch was issued for the west coast of Florida, including Sarasota County and part of Manatee County. The watch starts just south of the middle of Longboat Key. The east coast of Florida, south of the Volusia-Brevard County line, is also under the watch, in addition to all of the Florida Keys.

A tropical storm watch means tropical storm conditions are possible somewhere within the watch area within 48 hours.

Tropical storm watches issued in Florida

As of 8 p.m. ET, the system is about 480 miles southwest of Ft. Myers and is moving north at about 5 mph. Maximum sustained winds are 35 mph.

If the system develops and wind speeds reach at least 39 mph, it would become the first named storm of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season and would be given the name Alex.

Meteorologists have been keeping a close eye on the system, previously called Invest 91L, for several days now. The area being watched was leftover shower and thunderstorm activity from Hurricane Agatha, a storm in the Pacific, that was expected to reorganize over the Gulf of Mexico.

As of Thursday afternoon, the NHC said it was still producing a large area of disorganized showers and thunderstorms. Forecasters said they expect it to become a tropical depression or tropical storm as it moves over the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico in the coming days.

Heavy rain and gusty winds will likely impact parts of Florida, but there are still questions when it comes to where exactly those impacts will be felt.

Hurricane season officially started Wednesday, June 1. This year marks the first time in seven years that tropical development did not occur in the Atlantic basin before June 1.

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