Tropical Storm Gordon formed in the Florida Keys and headed toward the Gulf of Mexico on Monday morning with maximum winds of 45 mph, the National Hurricane Center said.
Tropical storm warnings are coming for parts of south Florida and the Keys, the NHC said, in a 9 a.m. special advisory.
The hurricane center said Sunday evening that the weather system, then known as Tropical Cyclone Seven, was 115 miles east-southeast of Marathon and had maximum sustained winds of 30 mph at about 2 a.m. ET on Monday.
It was moving west-northwest at 15 mph and was forecast to pass over the Florida Keys Monday afternoon, emerge over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico by Monday evening and reach the central Gulf Coast by late Tuesday night.
A tropical storm watch has been issued for portions of the central Gulf Coast from the Alabama-Florida border westward to east of Morgan City, Louisiana, including Lake Pontchartrain.
A storm surge watch is in effect from the Mississippi-Alabama border westward to the mouth of the Mississippi River.
“Potential Tropical Cyclone Seven will bring heavy rainfall and gusty winds to portions of the Bahamas, South Florida, and the Florida Keys tonight and Monday, and interests in those areas should monitor the progress of this system,” the hurricane center said Sunday.
It warned that heavy rainfall from the system would affect portions of the central Gulf Coast later in the week.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott tweeted that Floridians and visitors should monitor the weather system and remain vigilant.
“Right now, according to @NHC_Atlantic, the biggest impact to our state will be heavy rain, but in Florida, we know how quickly weather can change,” he said.
“With the peak of hurricane season upon us, now is the time to get prepared. Make sure that you and your family have a plan in place in case of disaster.”