Hurricane

Tropical depression forms off Florida heading north

Forecasters said Friday evening a tropical depression off the Florida coast and moving north, northwest, had sustained winds of 35 mph.
Forecasters said Friday evening a tropical depression off the Florida coast and moving north, northwest, had sustained winds of 35 mph. National Hurricane Center

A storm heading north along the Florida coast has strengthened to a tropical depression, the National Hurricane Center said Friday evening.

With sustained winds of 35 mph and located about 450 miles southeast of Charleston, the storm is moving at about 13 mph but may slow as it nears the South Carolina coast on Saturday. Forecasters issued a tropical storm warning for the much of the state’s coast, between Savannah and Myrtle Beach.

The storm is the second storm of the 2016 Atlantic season, which officially starts June 1. In January, Hurricane Alex formed near the Bahamas, the first January storm since 1938, and made landfall in the Azores as a tropical storm.

Florida will likely dodge any effects from the storm as it moves slowly west, northwestward over the Memorial Day weekend.

South Florida should have mostly clear skies, with just a 20 to 30 percent chance of showers possibly in the afternoon, the National Weather Service reported Friday morning. However, the chance of rip currents could increase heading into the weekend, particularly in North Florida. Late Thursday, the Florida Division of Emergency Management warned beach goers to keep an eye out for warning flags. Double red means the beach is closed.

Follow Jenny Staletovich on Twitter @jenstaletovich

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