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A tropical system — now known as Invest 91L — gathering strength near the Yucatan Peninsula may become the first tropical storm of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season as it heads toward Florida, according to the National Hurricane Center.

If sustained winds strengthen to 39 mph, it would become Tropical Storm Alex, the first name on this year’s list of storm names for the Atlantic basin.

The system is forecast to become a tropical depression or tropical storm as it moves northeast over the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico.

Regardless of development, the system could bring flooding rains across South Florida, with some areas seeing 8 to 12 inches of rain. AccuWeather forecasters are predicting up to 20 inches in some areas.

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Here’s the latest update from the NHC as of 2 a.m. June 2:

Tropical Storm Alex, tropical depression has high chance to develop

  • Formation chance through 48 hours: high, 80 percent.
  • Formation chance through 5 days: high, 80 percent.

What could be the impact of the tropical system on Florida?

Flash floods are possible as a tropical system moves across Florida.

Regardless of development, areas of heavy rainfall are likely across portions of the Yucatan Peninsula and western Cuba during the next day or so, spreading across southern and central Florida and the Florida Keys Friday and Friday night, and the northwestern Bahamas on Saturday.

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These heavy rains could cause scattered to numerous flash floods across South Florida and the Florida Keys.

When could the tropical system affect Florida?

As the storm moves northeast, flooding rains will begin to impact South Florida as early as Friday, according to AccuWeather.

As the storm moves into Florida, it will bring a large swath of torrential rains from the Keys to the southern and central parts of the state. The heaviest rain will likely occur in South Florida from Friday through Saturday night, with AccuWeather Local StormMax™ predicting up to 20 inches.

Regardless of whether the system becomes a tropical depression or tropical storm, it will approach Florida with drenching downpours and gusty thunderstorms from Friday to Saturday.

What other impact could the storm bring to Florida?

“There is also the potential for a few tornadoes and waterspouts as the system crosses the Florida Peninsula or passes just to the south of Florida,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson said.

In addition to torrential downpours and the likelihood of urban flooding, building seas and surf will occur around southern and central parts of Florida and the northern Bahamas.

What else is out there and where is it?

A weak surface trough located about 150 miles northeast of the northwestern Bahamas is producing disorganized showers and a few thunderstorms.

What are the chances it could become a tropical storm?

Upper-level winds appear too strong for significant development of this system while it moves northeast at 5 to 10 mph over the southwestern Atlantic during the next couple of days.

  • Formation chance through 48 hours: low, 10 percent.
  • Formation chance through 5 days: low, 10 percent.

It’s too early at this time to determine if there will be any impact to land from the system off Florida’s East Coast.

Tracking the tropics in real time:

These graphics, which update automatically, show you activity in the tropics in real time:

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What’s out there?

What’s next?

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This article originally appeared on Naples Daily News: Tropical system continues to strengthen, Florida impact urban flooding

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