Forecasters say the system will approach the Gulf Coast on Friday or Saturday with gusty winds and rough seas regardless of whether it develops further.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Thursday the system, known as Potential Tropical Cyclone 16, was located about 620 miles southwest of the mouth of Mississippi River with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph, moving north at 8 mph.
Landfall is now forecasted to be somewhere along the Florida panhandle sometime Friday night or Saturday morning as a tropical storm.
The estimated minimum central pressure is 1007 mb (29.74 inches).
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for. This is why it becomes more and more hard to sustain a tropical system in the winter season. There is a 70% chance it will become a tropical depression or tropical storm by Friday.
A storm surge watch means there is a possibility of life- threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, in the indicated locations during the next 48 hours.
The Tallahassee National Weather Service is already warning of rain and thunderstorms beginning Friday as well as high winds and sea levels.
Storm surge: the combination of a unsafe storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline.
The area of interest is forecast to move northward and then to the northeast across the Western and Central Gulf of Mexico over the course of the next few days.
Whether or not it actually develops into a named system, the impact to our weather in North Carolina will be the same.