Tropical Depression nine expected to strenghten into a tropical storm as it churns in the Gulf of Mexico, likely takes aim on Florida

Published 4:00 pm Monday, August 29, 2016

205801All eyes are on the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean as three storm systems have residents keeping watch and forecasters trying to estimate trajectories.

Tropical Depression Nine moved into the extreme southeast Gulf of Mexico on Monday morning, on a forecasted track into the west, then northwest into the east central Gulf.

The depression could strengthen into a tropical storm before it curves toward Florida by the middle of the week, although the track and the intensity of the storm is still uncertain.

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At this time, Louisiana and Mississippi are not expected to be affected by this storm, other than higher than normal tides. A coastal flood advisory also could be issued, depending on the development of the system.

Businesses on North Carolina’s Outer Banks are warily watching tropical weather systems that could rain out one of the last busy weeks of the summer tourist season.

As of 10 a.m. Monday, a tropical depression was about 200 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras’ beaches and moving to the northeast. Forecasters expect it to become a tropical storm before brushing the North Carolina coast Tuesday.

In the Gulf of Mexico, another tropical depression was churning about 170 miles west of Key West. Forecasters expect it to become a tropical storm that could move northeast across northern Florida, cross land and head up the Atlantic coast toward the end of the week.

The depression’s maximum sustained winds early Monday are near 35 mph (55 kph) with some strengthening expected during the next two days. Forecasters say it could become a tropical storm later in the day or overnight.

In North Carolina, Jennifer Scarborough is the manager of a marina in Hatteras. She says that some captains are canceling or rescheduling fishing trips. She fears the first storm could saturate the area and the second storm could bring another blow if it comes their way.

Farther east, Hurricane Gaston has weakened a little as it drifts northward in the middle of the Atlantic.