Even if the system doesn't become Tropical Storm Philippe, forecasters say heavy rains from the system are expected to move northward across portions of Florida and the northwestern Bahamas on Saturday night and Sunday.
"Because of the interaction with the mountains of Cuba and increasing strong winds aloft, the storm may have difficulty in intensifying", Kottlowski said.
Because of the potential of locally heavy rainfall, the NBC 6 First Alert Weather Team has declared that Saturday will be a "First Alert Weather Day". The downpours will then move up in the Miami metro area by mid-morning, spreading further north into the rest of South Florida by early afternoon. Some gusty winds are also possible, particularly in the coastal waters.
The storm is forecast to have tropical storm strength, which means winds of 39-73 miles per hour, by the time it passes south of Florida, possibly hitting the Keys on its path to the Bahamas.
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By Sunday, the area of enhanced moisture associated with Potential Tropical Cyclone Eighteen will be in the western Atlantic Ocean, just off the southeast USA coastline. More than 7 percent of the season's activity is yet to come in terms of average Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE), a metric used to measure wind energy produced by tropical cyclones.
October and November storms are not unheard of. Hurricane Hunter aircraft flew through the system to investigate the potential for development and found wind speeds of 35 knots and no well defined center of rotation.
The tropics are not finished yet this season as we are monitoring yet another system developing in the Caribbean.
The motion is toward Cuba and Bahamas.