Hurricane center monitors disturbance off Florida coast

The National Hurricane Center is monitoring a disturbance about 200 miles east of Jacksonville, saying environmental conditions are marginally favorable for it to develop before moving inland over Florida later on Wednesday.

The disturbance, arising right on cue for the opening day of the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season, could bring heavy rains to North and Central Florida, forecasters said.

According to the hurricane center's 8 a.m. tropical outlook, the small low-pressure area is producing a concentrated area of showers and thunderstorms as it moves west-southwest at 20 mph.

Forecasters give it a 30 percent chance of developing into a tropical depression or tropical storm during the short time it remains over water.

The first named storm will be Arlene.

While it has yet to show up on the hurricane center's radar, forecasters also are monitoring a potential trouble spot in the western Caribbean.