Tropical system heads for southern Florida, could strengthen

A slowly moving storm system could develop into a tropical depression or tropical storm in the Gulf of Mexico, meteorologists say.

Meteorologists at the National Hurricane Center have been keeping a close eye on Invest 99L, a tropical making its way through the Atlantic and gaining strength since last week.

On Friday afternoon, NHC reported the system has a 30 percent chance of developing within 48 hours and an 60 percent chance of developing within the next five days.

As of Friday afternoon, the storm was located about 400 miles southeast of Miami.

“If the ill-defined disturbance moves due west, it will move over Cuba and fall apart, but if it tracks northwestward along the coast of Cuba, it will probably survive this weekend," according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.

According to Accuweather, people in southern Florida and the Florida Keys can expect an uptick in downpours and thunderstorms and possibly waterspouts from Sunday into Monday.

Kottlowski said that if it so happened that the storm gained strength over the Gulf of Mexico, a northward curve in the path is possible, which would bring the storm toward the upper Gulf coast -- meaning people in Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana should continue to monitor the progress of 99L into next week.

Doug Berry, meteorologist with the National Weather Center in Charleston, said that typically during August, a high-pressure ridge pushes storms westward into the Gulf of Mexico, away from the Carolinas.

Berry said that the Carolinas see more tropical storms in September when the high-pressure ridge disappears. However, the last hurricane to directly hit the Lowcountry was Gaston in August 2004.

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Source: National Hurricane Center/NOAA

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