Storm warnings are posted for Florida as the system that hit Mexico moves into the Gulf

Storm Warnings Are Posted for Florida as the System That Hit Mexico Moves Into the Gulf

Tropical storm warnings were issued Thursday for Florida and Cuba as the system that battered Mexico moves east.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said the storm once known as Agatha in the Pacific Ocean will become known as Alex in the Atlantic Ocean basin.

The tropical storm warning extends from Longboat Key on the Gulf Coast to the southern Florida panhandle, including Lake Okeechobee, which always presents a flood hazard. The low-lying Florida Keys are included in the storm watch.

The Cuban government has issued a tropical storm warning for the provinces of Matanzas, Mayabeque, Havana, Artemisa, Pinar del Río and Isla de la Juventud, according to the US National Weather Service.

The Atlantic hurricane season officially began on Tuesday. This is an unusually early start to storm season, but not unprecedented for Florida.

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The National Hurricane Center predicts up to 10 inches (25 centimeters) of rain is possible in parts of South Florida from this storm, which is not expected to produce high winds or significant storm surge. Still, flooding is likely and winds could be somewhat strong.

The Hurricane Center says the system’s maximum sustained winds as of Thursday afternoon were about 35 mph (55 km/h) with higher gusts. It is expected to become a tropical storm sometime on Friday, which means stronger winds but not hurricane levels.

“Heavy rain will begin to affect South Florida and the Keys on Friday and continue through Saturday,” the Hurricane Center said in an online post. Storm surge and flooding are also forecast, the severity of which depends on the timing of the tides.

As a Pacific storm, Hurricane Agatha caused flooding and mudslides that killed at least 11 people and left 20 missing in Mexico, officials said. It caused rivers to overflow and swept people into homes, while other victims were buried under mud and rocks.

This storm is now headed for Florida.

Agatha made history as the strongest hurricane ever recorded making landfall in May during the eastern Pacific hurricane season since 1949. Climate scientists say tropical systems will become more powerful and destructive due to global warming.

Melissa Galbraith
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.