ORLANDO, Fla. – A tropical depression is forecast to strengthen into a hurricane as it heads on a projected path toward Florida.
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At 11 p.m. Thursday, Tropical Depression 13 was about 445 miles east of the northern Leeward Islands with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph. The system was moving west-northwest at 22 mph. The system is not well-organized.
The National Hurricane Center said the system is expected to become either Tropical Storm Laura or Marco on Friday, depending on how soon a depression in the Caribbean reaches tropical storm status. A tropical storm has maximum sustained winds of 39-73 mph. The latest official projection shows the system possibly brushing by South Florida as a Category 1 hurricane Monday afternoon and continuing northwest. The latest forecast cone shows a Category 1 storm off Central Florida’s west coast by Tuesday afternoon.
The official forecast cone for the weather system includes most of Florida, including the Orlando area.
On the current track, T.D. 13 is expected to move near or north of the northern Leeward Islands by late Friday and near or north of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico on Saturday. A tropical storm watch — which means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the area, generally within 48 hours — was issued Thursday afternoon for Puerto Rico, Vieques, Culebra and the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to the NHC.
Meanwhile, Tropical Depression 14 has formed in the Caribbean.
It’s located 155 miles east southeast of Cabo Gracias A Dios on the Nicaragua-Honduras border and is expected to move near or over extreme northern Nicaragua and northeastern Honduras, including the Bay Islands, on Friday and approach the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico on Saturday, according to the Hurricane Center.
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And off the coast of Africa, there’s another area of disturbance with a 40% chance to develop over the next five days.
Central Florida will deal with the risk of severe storms Thursday afternoon.
There will be a 70% coverage of rain Thursday, with a high of 92, which is the average for this time of year. The record high on this date is 100, set in 1921.
The main risk for Thursday’s storms, mainly after 2 p.m., will be lightning, strong winds and heavy downpours that could lead to minor flooding.
High temperatures will be in the low 90s for the next several days.
Rain chances stand at 60-70% Friday. There’s a 60% chance of rain Saturday.
Orlando has a yearly rain deficit of 2.17.
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