The tropical wave making its way through the Caribbean — which could end up swiping Southwest Florida — is expected to bear down on the Florida Keys as a tropical depression early Labor Day, according to National Hurricane Center advisories late Sunday.
The stormy weather already began early Sunday, but effects upon South Florida and the Keys overnight are “not expected to be much different than with a vigorous tropical wave,” said NBC6 meteorologist John Morales.
The National Hurricane Center’s Sunday night forecast now puts the southern portion of the Florida peninsula in the wave’s track. Think tropical storm weather — expect at least two to four inches of rain and wind gusts as high as 35 mph.
“The heaviest rains (are) likely tomorrow morning,” said National Weather Service meteorologist Stephen Konarik in Miami. “With a lot of luck, there could be some breaks in the clouds, or at least some breaks of rain in the later afternoon.”
And a marine warning was in effect for waters surrounding the Lower Keys, according to the weather service in Key West.
If this doesn’t sound like a good beach day, well, it isn’t. A high rip current risk warning is in effect from 8 a.m. Sunday through Monday evening.
The weather service in Miami offered this advice: “Swim near a lifeguard. If caught in a rip current, relax and float. Don`t swim against the current. If able, swim in a direction following the shoreline. If unable to escape, face the shore and call or wave for help.”
Meteorologists forecast that the depression will develop into a tropical storm as it moves into the Gulf by Monday night. The coastline along Louisiana, Mississippi and the Alabama-Florida border is under a tropical storm watch, and a storm surge watch is in effect for the Mississippi-Alabama border westward to the mouth of the Mississippi River.
“The current unfavorable upper-level wind patter is expect to gradually chance and become more conducive or a tropical depression to form over the eastern and central Gulf of Mexico by Tuesday or Wednesday,” the National Hurricane Center said.
As for Tropical Storm Florence way out in the Atlantic coast, Konarik says there’s no immediate threat to South Florida.
“We’re monitoring it,” he said. “Right now there aren’t any signs of that impacting us.“