The watch covers waters between 20 and 60 nautical miles offshore.
Wind gusts from the storm were expected to hit Florida from Monday afternoon, with Governor Rick Scott reminding people to remain vigilant. Florence will rotate harmlessly in the central Atlantic this week but could pose a threat to Bermuda and/or the U.S. East Coast in the next six to 12 days, according to Weather Underground meteorologist Bob Henson.
It is expected to strengthen to a tropical storm by Monday evening and would be named Gordon (assuming nothing else forms before it strengthens).
Tropical Storm Gordon, now off the coast of South Florida, will move northwest over the next three days.
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A rip current statement warned of deadly undertow along area beaches through Wednesday night. However, right now these tropical systems are not forecast to impact Middle Georgia.
Florence was moving toward the west-northwest near 16 miles per hour and maximum sustained winds of 50 miles per hour with higher gusts late Sunday evening. Gradual strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Monday that Tropical Storm Gordon is likely to batter the region with heavy rains.
At 500 p.m. EDT (2100 UTC), the disturbance was centered near latitude 22.7 north, longitude 77.3 west.
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Once it is in the Gulf, there is a 80 percent chance of tropical development in the next five days as it pushes toward the northern Gulf coast. NWS forecasters said isolated tornadoes are also possible. However, some localized areas could see up to 200 mm.
The disturbance is now disorganized and poses little chance of development due to unfavorable upper level winds.
Flooding is also a risk for the areas affected by the storm, including portions of southeast Louisiana north of Interstate 10 and southwest MS west of Interstate 55.
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The storm began as a tropical wave over the Caribbean last week.