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Caribbean weather system could become tropical storm, head to Florida

A glob of bad weather in the Caribbean became better organized Wednesday and was poised to become a tropical cyclone that could spin toward Florida.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center were monitoring the area of low pressure in the Caribbean, which was moving toward the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday night.

Tyler Fleming, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service's office in Ruskin, said some computer models predicted the storm would make landfall in the Panhandle, while others placed it farther west.

"In terms of exact track, it's still changing day to day," Fleming said.

Forecasters gave the storm a 70 percent chance of tropical cyclone development in the next day or so. If it becomes a tropical storm, it will be named Karen.

Fleming said models didn't agree on wind speed. Some showed no development at all, while others predicted hurricane-force winds. A hurricane hunter aircraft was sent into the storm Wednesday.

No matter the final outcome, Fleming said the system's eastern edge will bring an increased chance of showers to the Tampa Bay area today and Friday.

The storm will bring more severe rain to its east side, so the farther east it goes, the more likely it will rain over Tampa Bay.

Bay News 9 said rain chances are 30 percent today and 40 percent on Friday and Saturday.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Jerry was downgraded to a depression Wednesday night in the Atlantic and is of no threat to land.

Caribbean weather system could become tropical storm, head to Florida 10/02/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 2, 2013 10:46pm]
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