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All eyes are on tropical weather entering gulf

The National Hurricane Center says tropical storm conditions and heavy rainfall are possible over parts of the central U.S. Gulf Coast in coming days.

The Miami-based center said Sunday afternoon that a storm system is brewing about 240 miles (385 kilometers) east-southeast of Marathon in the Florida Keys. Maximum sustained winds of the unnamed system have been clocked at 30 mph (45 kph) and the system is moving west-northwest at 15 mph (24 kph).

A tropical storm watch has been issued for portions of the central Gulf Coast from the Alabama-Florida line westward to nearly Morgan City, Louisiana.

The center says the system will gradually strengthen and is expected to become a tropical depression sometime Monday and a tropical storm by Monday evening. It says the system could dump 2 to 4 inches (5-10 centimeters) of rain over parts of the Bahamas, the Florida Keys and South Florida through early Tuesday.

Elsewhere, forecasters say, storm are expected to develop over the nation’s midsection in coming days that could dump from 3 to 7 inches (8-17 centimeters) of rain in some areas.

Governor John Bel Edwards issued a statement via Facebook Sunday afternoon. “We are closely monitoring this weather system and Louisiana Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness has activated the Crisis Action Team,” Edwards said. “Now is a good time to visit getagameplan.org for tips to prepare and visit emergency.la.gov for updates.”

As of Sunday afternoon, those in the Florida Keys and the southern Florida peninsula should be readying for some extra rainfall. The disturbance is expected to pass over the Florida Keys on Monday afternoon before emerging over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico by Monday evening. Then, meteorologists expect it to reach the central Gulf Coast by Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.