Potential Tropical Cyclone threatens western Cuba with heavy rain

A tropical disturbance in the west Caribbean may become a tropical depression or tropical storm this week. Should pose no Gulf Coast threat

- Tropical Storm Phillipe has formed in the Caribbean, becoming the 16th named storm of the 2017 hurricane season.

The hurricane center said the depression was "producing heavy rains across central Cuba and spreading northward over the Florida Keys and South Florida".

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The 5 p.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center indicated the storm had sustained winds of 40 miles per hour with stronger gusts. The rainfall could potentially result in flash flooding, especially in urban parts.

This cold front is bringing the coldest air mass of this season so far across much of the U.S. From the Great Lakes to Texas, freeze warnings are in effect. Although they are expected to taper off in the afternoon, they should also resume this evening. On that path it will move across western Cuba this afternoon, into the Straits of Florida tonight and across the northwestern Bahamas by Sunday morning. If the storm strengthens, it would be given the name Philippe. Watches are in effect for the Central Bahamas.

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Eighteen could bring 2 to 4 inches of rain to South Florida over the course of the weekend.

The storm is now located about 170 miles south-southwest of Havana, Cuba, and is already bringing heavy rains to the island and as far north as Florida Keys. The NHC said residents in the Cayman Islands should monitor the storm.

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Local residents living in areas under storm watch are recommended to follow the Florida Division of Emergency Management on Twitter for updates pertaining to weather conditions.

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