While Tropical Storm Florence spun harmlessly in the far eastern Atlantic Ocean, weather forecasters were keeping a wary eye on a tropical disturbance over the Bahamas that could enter the Gulf of Mexico and take aim at the north central Gulf Coast.
In its 2 p.m. statement the National Hurricane Center said the disturbance was becoming better organized and would likely become a tropical depression on Monday as it moved through South Florida and the Keys, into the Gulf of Mexico.
A tropical storm watch was issued Sunday night for Baldwin and Mobile counties in Alabama. There was no indication of a tropical storm watch for Northwest Florida.
The disturbance was located about 810 miles southeast of Pensacola and was moving west-northwest at 15 mph.
A local statement from the Mobile office of the National Weather Service issued at 4:32 p.m. said, “This system will have the potential to bring significant rainfall amounts and flash flooding to the area, mainly across inland southeast Mississippi, southwest Alabama, and the western Florida panhandle. Tropical storm force winds and coastal flooding remain possible, and additional information will be provided in future advisories.”
A rip current warning was in effect for beaches between Mobile and the Okaloosa County line.
If the system intensifies into a tropical storm, it will be named “Gordon.”
Residents should pay attention to weather updates throughout the Labor Day weekend to remain aware of the progress of this disturbance.
Meanwhile, Florence continued westward across the Atlantic and as of Sunday night had winds of 50 mph.
The storm was located far in the eastern Atlantic, west of the Cape Verde Islands, and poses no threat to land at this time.
It is forecast to continue moving west-northwest with a gradual turn to the northwest, and is no longer expected to reach hurricane strength.