Tropical Storm Sally develops, as heavy rain expected to hit Florida, Gulf Coast this weekend

By Julia Musto | Fox News

A flood watch has been issued in the Sunshine State from Tampa Bay to Fort Myers.

Heavy tropical rainfall is expected in Florida and the eastern Gulf Coast this weekend, following flash flooding earlier in the week as multiple storm systems swirl through the Tropics.

Tropical Depression Nineteen turned into Tropical Storm Sally Saturday afternoon and is expected to move west-northwestward or northwestward over the next couple of days.

Sally originally formed Friday afternoon less than 100 miles east-southeast of Miami

“The center is forecast to move over the southeastern and eastern Gulf of Mexico later today and Sunday, and then move over the north-central Gulf of Mexico Sunday night and Monday,” the National Hurricane Center said at 2 p.m. ET Saturday.

Sally is expected to become a hurricane by late Monday, with rainfall of 3-6 inches along the Gulf Coast from Florida to southeast Louisiana. Southern Alabama, Mississippi and southeast Louisiana could get 2-4 inches of rainfall farther inland.

A separate system, Tropical Storm Paulette could potentially slam into Bermuda early next week as a Category 2 hurricane with winds of 100 mph, and Rene is in a similar position, located over the central Atlantic.

The tropical wave in the Gulf could bring 2 to 6 inches of rain from Florida to southern Alabama.

Some areas in Florida and Virginia have seen more than 5 inches of rain over the last 24 hours, according to ABC News. A record of almost 3 inches of rain fell in Washington D.C. as well, necessitating water rescues in some areas of the capital city.

LA NINA FORMS IN THE PACIFIC – HERE’S WHAT IT MEANS FOR HURRICANES, WILDFIRES

Although the heavy rain was over in Washington, there was a flood watch in the Sunshine State from the Tampa Bay area down to Fort Myers.

Beachgoers pack Wrightsville Beach, N.C., Aug. 2, as Tropical Storm Isaias moves along the Southeast Coast. (Travis Long/The News; Observer via AP)

While hurricane season officially ends Nov. 30, a La Niña climate pattern which has appeared in the Pacific could lead to an increase in activity, forecasters say.

In August, weather events caused an estimated $20 billion in economic losses throughout the nation.

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