A storm which is currently moving through the Caribbean could potentially arrive in Florida as a hurricane early next week, state authorities announced Friday. In response to Tropical Depression 9, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency.
As of Friday afternoon, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported that Tropical Depression 9 was 430 miles southeast of Kingston, Jamaica, moving northwest at a speed of 15 mph. It had maximum sustained winds of 35 mph.
The NHC said that Tropical Depression 9 could reach South Florida by Monday and bring flash flooding to the region.
DeSantis signed an executive order issuing a state of emergency for 24 Florida counties which could be in the storm’s path. The order also places the Florida National Guard on standby. Furthermore, DeSantis put in a request for a federal “pre-landfall emergency declaration.”
“This storm has the potential to strengthen into a major hurricane and we encourage all Floridians to make their preparations,” DeSantis said in a statement. “We are coordinating with all state and local government partners to track potential impacts of this storm.”
The storm isof NASA’s Artemis 1 moon rocket from the Kennedy Space Center, the agency said Friday.
As it moves through the Caribbean Sea, Tropical Depression 9 is slated to pass south of Jamaica on Saturday night, and approach the Cayman Islands Sunday night, the NHC said.
Jamaica and Cuba could see flash flooding and mudslides, the NHC said. It was forecast to bring 6 to 10 inches of rain to Cuba, the NHC noted in its advisory. Jamaica and the Cayman Islands could see 4 to 8 inches of rain, while Haiti and the Dominican Republic could get 2 to 4 inches.
A tropical depression is defined as a tropical cyclone with maximum winds of 38 mph or less, according to the National Weather Service. A tropical depression becomes a tropical storm when its maximum winds hit at least 39 mph. A tropical storm becomes a hurricane when its maximum winds reach 74 mph.
Elsewhere,as a Category 4 storm after causing major devastation in Puerto Rico earlier this week, at one point knocking out power to the entire island and leaving hundreds of thousands of residents without access to drinking water. The storm also hit Bermuda, the Dominican Republic, and Turks and Caicos Islands.