A wave of rough weather in the Gulf of Mexico that got more organized throughout the week strengthened into the first named tropical storm of the young hurricane season on Friday afternoon, though forecasters expected it to fizzle out over the weekend.
Tropical Storm Arlene became the first named storm of the 2023 hurricane season, which began on Thursday. Though the weather system contributed to some rainy afternoons and reports of street flooding in the Tampa Bay area this week, its effects will be wearing off through the weekend.
While rain chances were as high as 80% during the week, forecasters at Spectrum Bay News 9 said those chances will shrink to 60% on Saturday, 50% on Sunday and 40% on Monday.
Still, forecasters with the National Weather Service said heavy rains could continue in Central and South Florida on Saturday with isolated flash flooding possible.
As of 5 p.m. Friday, Arlene was about 240 miles west of Fort Myers and had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph with higher gusts, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Tropical storm force winds extended up to 70 miles from Arlene’s center. The tropical storm was trudging south-southeast at 7 mph.
Forecasters expect wind shear and dry air will weaken the storm as it moves south and it could dissipate by Sunday.
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