TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A tropical depression is “likely” to form in the Gulf of Mexico and could impact the Tampa Bay area next week, according to the National Hurricane Center.
An area currently in the Northwest Caribbean has a 70% chance of developing into a tropical depression, according to the National Hurricane Center. The system could form by Sunday or Monday.
If the system were to become a tropical storm, it would be named Idalia.
“Once organized, it will have a 36-hour window to strenghten before making landfall somewhere along the west coast of Florida,” News Channel 8 Chief Meteorologist Jeff Berardelli said. “This is likely enough time to become a tropical storm (more likely) or a low-end hurricane (less likely).”
Whether or not the system forms depends on how strong the wind shear is over the Gulf.
“While wind shear will weaken Monday and Tuesday, it will still be present, likely limiting just how strong the system could be,” Berardelli said. “So the chances of reaching hurricane status seem minimal as of now.”
Tampa Bay area residents should expect 1 to 2 inches of rain Tuesday into Wednesday along with tropical downpours and wind gusts of 40 mph or higher, Berardelli said. Some coastal flooding is also likely due to Wednesday’s full moon and tides will be a foot higher than they are currently.
The National Hurricane Center said those in the Yucatan Peninsula, western Cuba, and Florida should monitor the system.
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