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Downpours to soak Florida, Bahamas and Cuba as a tropical disturbance may wait to strengthen

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The risk of flooding downpours and gusty thunderstorms will spread toward southern Florida as a tropical disturbance spreads northwestward from Cuba.

While the risk of a tropical storm or hurricane striking southeastern Florida and the Bahamas has diminished for this weekend, a tropical disturbance, dubbed 99L, still bears watching for development.

The poorly organized disturbance was roughly located 450 miles southeast of Miami and Marathon, Florida, near eastern Cuba during Friday morning.

"If the ill-defined disturbance moves due west, it will move over Cuba and fall apart, but if it tracks northwestward along the coast of Cuba, it will probably survive this weekend," according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.

The mountainous terrain of the island of Hispaniola, combined with dry air to the north and disruptive winds in the atmosphere, all but shredded the disturbance beyond recognition during Thursday.

However, multiple clusters of showers and thunderstorms survived and will continue to develop across Cuba, Jamaica, the Turks and Caicos and the southern Bahamas into this weekend.

"The thunderstorms will lead to locally heavy rainfall that can cause flash flooding and mudslides in areas with higher terrain," Kottlowski said.

In terms of impact on southern Florida and the Florida Keys, people can expect an uptick in downpours and locally gusty thunderstorms with the possibility of waterspouts from Sunday into Monday.

In the vicinity of the thunderstorms, seas can rapidly build and become dangerous for small craft.

Where the thunderstorms are more robust, there could be damaging wind gusts, power outages and urban flooding.

Thunderstorms that approach airports could result in temporary airline delays. Cruise lines may alter their course and itinerary to avoid potential rough seas in the vicinity of the disturbance.

Rainfall, both associated with and not associated with the disturbance, could reach 6 inches or greater over parts of southern Florida and the Keys into early next week.

Provided the disturbance survives through Saturday, there is a chance it begins to organize over the Florida Straits on Sunday. If this is the case, there is a greater chance of organization and strengthening over the eastern Gulf of Mexico early next week.

With the scenario of the disturbance reaching and strengthening over the Gulf of Mexico, a northward curve in the path is possible. Such a path would bring the system toward the upper Gulf coast of the United States.

As a result, all interests from Florida to Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana should continue to monitor the progress of 99L into next week.

Elsewhere in the Atlantic, Gaston may gain strength but will stay east of Bermuda this weekend. Another strong tropical disturbance will move westward from Africa early next week and could develop later next week.

The Atlantic hurricane season peaks during the middle of September but continues through October and into November.