Tropical Depression Forms Off of Southeast Florida, Says National Hurricane Center

Meteorologists are monitoring a weather system that may develop into a tropical storm off the coast of southeast Florida. On Saturday afternoon, the storm officially became a tropical depression.

"Continued gradual development is expected, and the system is likely to become a
tropical or subtropical depression or storm later today or tonight while it moves north-northeastward over the Atlantic waters east of Florida," said the the National Hurricane Center in its advisory Saturday morning. "Later in the weekend and early next week, the system is expected to move generally northeastward over the western Atlantic near or east of the Carolinas."

The NHC also said that the low pressure area is "gradually becoming better defined, but the associated showers and thunderstorms remain disorganized." It reported that the offshore, low-pressure area has experienced gusts of wind and showers from east-central Florida towards the northwest Bahamas and Atlantic waters.

Visible satellite loop showing the disturbance over the Florida Straits as it moves slowly to the NE. Most of the shower activity today has been displaced to the east of the poorly-defined center. For more details, please visit #flwx #KeyWest #FloridaKeys

— NWS Key West (@NWSKeyWest) May 15, 2020

Forecasters say the system will bring rain and gusts of wind to east-central Florida and the northwest Bahamas on Saturday, regardless of whether it develops into a tropical storm. The system will also affect waters up to the mid-East Coast.

"In addition, hazardous marine conditions will spread northward during the next few days, likely causing dangerous surf and rip currents along much of the southeast and mid-Atlantic coasts of the U.S," NHC said in its latest update.

As of 8:10 a.m. EDT Saturday, a hurricane hunter aircraft was en route to investigate the system, with another update from NHC expected later in the day.

CNN reported that the system may instead develop into a "sub-tropical storm" which CNN meteorologist Dave Hennen described as a "hybrid between a regular area of low pressure, which has a cold core, and pure tropical system, which has warm core."

According to Local 10, cool ocean temperatures may keep the storm from getting stronger, and nice weather is on its way. Dry air from the Gulf of Mexico is making its way to South Florida.

As reported by the Weather Channel, this could be the first depression or storm of the 2020 season.

The hurricane season typically begins June 1 and if the system develops into a tropical storm, it would be named "Arthur," according to The Tampa Bay Times. It reported that forecasters projected 16 named storms through November in the 2020 season, more than the 13 average storms, according to The Weather Channel.

According to CNN, if the system develops into a tropical storm, it would make 2020 the sixth year in a row to have a storm formed prior to the June 1 start to hurricane season.

Updated at 7 p.m., EST.

Tropical Storm
A bicyclist uses an umbrellas as he rides through the rain from Tropical Storm Gordon on September 3, 2018 in Miami Beach, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty