Potential Tropical Cyclone #16 will impact parts of FL starting Friday

The National Hurricane Center has been monitoring an area off the U.S. East Coast the past few days for possible tropical development. This area of low pressure off the Florida Atlantic coastline has now been designated Potential Tropical Cyclone #16. This system is expected to strengthen between now and Friday and will likely become Tropical Storm Ophelia.
Regardless of development, this low is likely to bring tropical storm force winds, heavy rain, coastal flooding, high surf, and life-threatening storm surge to parts of the southeast and mid-Atlantic U.S. coastline on Friday into the weekend. A Tropical Storm Watch has been posted for the central and northern South Carolina coast. Tropical Storm Warnings have been issued for North Carolina heading northward.

Although the system is forecasted to stay well offshore, the north and central Florida east coast will experience gusty winds, rough surf, and a high risk for rip currents starting Friday.

The strongest winds are expected across the northeast parts of the state where gusts over 20-30 MPH are possible. This will cause offshore waves in the 5–10-foot range, so a Small Craft Advisory has been posted until Saturday afternoon from the First Coast down through the Treasure Coast. The Jacksonville National Weather Service has advised, “Inexperienced mariners, especially those operating smaller vessels, should avoid navigating in hazardous conditions”.

Much farther away in the Eastern Atlantic, a tropical wave will likely become a depression this weekend over the weekend as it tracks westward. This system will need to be watched as it possibly approaches the Caribbean and Antilles next week.