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Tropical depression forms off Florida, expected to be a tropical storm by Sunday

If it strengthens into a tropical storm, it would be named Arthur.

A system off Florida’s coast strengthened into a tropical depression Saturday afternoon and is expected to become a tropical storm on Sunday, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

Tropical Depression One is now the first tropical depression of the 2020 hurricane season and could become the first named storm, according to the National Weather Service. If it becomes a tropical storm, it would be named Arthur.

The hurricane center announced the storm’s formation during its 5 p.m. advisory Saturday, where it also issued a tropical storm watch for a section of North Carolina’s coast. A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 48 hours.

Meteorologists from the hurricane center say Tropical Depression One is moving to the north-northeast at 13 miles per hour, and it is expected it to remain on this course into Sunday. At 5 p.m. Saturday, Tropical Depression One’s core was 125 miles east of Melbourne on Florida’s east coast.

Sustained wind speeds reached 35 miles per hour Saturday afternoon with wind gusts reaching higher speeds, according to an advisory. It would need sustained winds of at least 40 miles per hour to become a tropical storm.

Spectrum Bay News 9 Meteorologist Diane Kacmarik said the storm will not bring any rain to Tampa Bay, which has just a 10 percent chance of rain for Sunday.

“It’ll be moving away from Florida and away from us,” Kacmarik said.

The storm has been on meteorologists’ radar since last week, when it was an area of low pressure south of Florida, where it strengthened and caused flooding in parts of Miami-Dade County on Friday.

Forecasters from Colorado State have projected an above-average hurricane season this year, with 16 named storms through the end of November, including eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes. The early formation of Tropical Depression One, two weeks before the official start date of hurricane season, is not considered an indicator for an active hurricane season.