TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Tropical Storm Isaias is expected to strengthen and become Hurricane Isaias later this week as it continues moving toward Florida.

Tropical Storm Isaias, previously Potential Tropical Cyclone Nine, formed late Wednesday in the eastern Caribbean.

While the National Hurricane Center says tropical storm conditions are possible in beginning Saturday. It is expected to become a hurricane on Friday.

“After the interaction with mountainous terrain, we’ll continue to have a clearer idea what impacts the U.S. could see,” Max Defender 8 Meteorologist Julie Phillips said Thursday afternoon.

As of 11 p.m. Thursday, Isaias was about 95 miles east-southeast of Great Inagua Island in the Bahamas. Maximum sustained wind speeds are staying consistent at 60 mph and the storm is moving northwest at 18 mph.

According to the NHC, Isaias could start impacting Florida on Saturday. A tropical storm watch has been issued for the east coast of Florida from Ocean Reef to Sebastian Inlet including Lake Okeechobee. A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible in the area, generally within 48 hours.

“Tropical storm conditions are possible along portions of the Florida east coast beginning Saturday,” the latest NHC advisory said. “While storm surge watches are not currently needed for this area, they may be required tonight or early tomorrow if the forecast track shifts closer to the coast.”

Hurricane warning in effect for:

  • Northwestern Bahamas including Andros Island, New Providence,
    Eleuthera, Abacos Islands, Berry Islands, Grand Bahamas Island, and

Tropical storm warning in effect for:

  • Dominican Republic entire southern and northern coastlines
  • North coast of Haiti from Le Mole St Nicholas eastward to the
    northern border with the Dominican Republic
  • Turks and Caicos Islands
  • Southeastern Bahamas including the Acklins, Crooked Island, Long
    Cay, the Inaguas, Mayaguana, and the Ragged Islands
  • Central Bahamas, including Cat Island, the Exumas, Long Island,
    Rum Cay, and San Salvador

The NHC says the tropical storm warnings for the central and northwest Bahamas could be upgraded to hurricane warnings later Thursday.