The National Hurricane Center Thursday morning upgraded the tropical disturbance near the Bahamas to tropical depression three.
Tropical storm warnings have been issued for the center-northwestern Bahamas, and the east coast of Florida from Golden Beach south through the Keys, and on the west coast north to Bonita Springs.
Tropical storm watches have been issued from Golden Beach north to Jupiter Beach and Lake Okeechobee.
Forecasters expect the tropical depression to strengthen to a tropical storm by Thursday afternoon.
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An Air Force Hurricane Hunter is on the way to check out the system. The storm is located about 265 miles southeast of Nassau, and about 405 miles east-southeast of Key Largo. It has maximum sustained winds of 35 miles per hour that are expected to strengthen. Its present movement is west-northwest at 15 miles per hour.