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Fox News Weather Center

Tropical system may eye, drench Florida early next week

On the heels of Bonnie, a new tropical system may take shape in the southeastern Gulf of Mexico and travel across Florida, with building seas and the potential for flooding, early next week.

Interests in the region should continue to monitor the area for potential adverse weather conditions beginning this weekend.

A growing area of showers and thunderstorms over the central Caribbean Sea will travel northwestward and end up near the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico this weekend. From near the Yucatan Peninsula to the eastern Gulf of Mexico, a tropical system may be born early next week.

Steering winds will eventually pick up and steer the feature northeastward.

At this time, the most likely path will take the system onshore along the west coast of Florida, across the Florida Peninsula and into the Atlantic during the first part of next week.

"The system could be a tropical depression or tropical storm by the time it reaches Florida," according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.

Torrential downpours and locally gusty thunderstorms are likely to develop this weekend in parts of southeastern Mexico, Belize, the Cayman Islands and western Cuba.

As the system takes shape over the eastern Gulf of Mexico, seas in the region will build, especially along the Florida west coast, the Florida Keys and the northwest coast of Cuba by Monday. Dangerous seas and surf conditions could develop, especially along the Florida Gulf Coast.

As the system begins to organize and move northeastward, the potential for flooding downpours and locally gusty thunderstorms will ramp up over the Florida Peninsula during Monday and into Tuesday.

There is the potential for 6-12 inches of rain to fall along with locally damaging thunderstorms.

How much rain falls and how rough surf conditions get will depend on the track and strength of the system, once the system forms.

"During the middle of next week, we expect the system to accelerate to the northeast and move away from the United States," Kottlowski said.

With the projected path of the system, a period of building seas, rough surf and rip currents are likely from the east coast of Florida to the Carolinas during the middle days of next week.

Should the system become organized and gather enough strength, the next name on the list of tropical storms and hurricanes for the 2016 Atlantic season is Colin, following Tropical Storm Bonnie.

"While Hurricane Alex formed during January 2016, it is probably more accurate to consider the system as the tail end of the 2015 season, rather than an early storm for the 2016 season," Kottlowski said. "We are not figuring Alex into the AccuWeather 2016 Atlantic hurricane season forecast as a result."