Tropical Storm Nicole formed Wednesday morning near Cuba but posed no threat to Florida, the National Hurricane Center said.
All watches and warnings for the state were lifted, and the storm is expected to track to the east of Florida, Hurricane Center forecasters said.
Nicole was moving northeast near 9 mph with sustained winds of 40 mph. Tropical storm-force winds extend 345 miles from the center.
The tropical system is expected to bring scattered showers and thunderstorms to the Tampa Bay area Wednesday. Temperatures are expected to be in the upper 80s. The rain chance is 40 percent, Bay News 9 reported.
The rain won't last long as drier air moves in, Bay News 9 meteorologist Juli Marquez said.
"As … Nicole moves away from the state, the drier air is going to come in, and the rain chances are going to drop," she said.
There was standing water in southern Florida but no initial reports of widespread flooding, according to the Miami Herald. Schools in Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties planned to open.
Forecasters were expecting 4 to 8 inches overall, steady for much of the day but coming down in torrents of 2 inches an hour when the system's strongest cells roll through, the Herald reported.
Official rainfall totals in Miami, Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale were less than an inch early Wednesday, but much of the storm's heaviest rain was yet to come.
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