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Tropical Depression forms in Central Atlantic; South Florida in extended forecast cone

MIAMI – A system in the tropics has developed into a tropical depression and it could be heading toward South Florida.

At 8 a.m. Thursday, the center of Tropical Depression Thirteen was located about 830 miles east southeast of the northern Leeward Islands.

The depression is moving toward the west-northwest near 21 mph and this motion is expected to continue for the next few days.

Should the storm strengthen into a named system, it would be called Laura.

On the forecast track, the depression 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.

If it continues on a path that takes it toward South Florida, it would likely arrive in the area sometime Monday.

Tropical Depression 13, 8 a.m. Thursday cone.
Tropical Depression 13, 8 a.m. Thursday cone. (National Hurricane Center)

Maximum sustained winds are near 35 mph with higher gusts. Gradual strengthening is forecast, and the depression is expected to become a tropical storm by late Thursday.

The estimated minimum central pressure is 1008 mb.

Watches and Warnings

A tropical storm watch is in effect for, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, Antigua, Barbuda, St. Kitts, Nevis, and Anguilla.

A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.

The depression is expected to produce 1 to 3 inches of rain with isolated maximum totals of 5 inches through Friday night over the northern Leeward Islands and Puerto Rico.

Tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area by late Friday.