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Tropical Storm Watch Issued for Florida Keys

The center of Tropical Storm Laura is likely to pass south of Florida, sparing most of the Sunshine State any direct impacts. However, tropical storm conditions are possible across the Florida Keys Monday, where a Tropical Storm Watch has been issued.

In their most recent forecast, meteorologists at the National Hurricane Center say that strengthening high pressure over the western Atlantic should keep Laura's center from passing through Florida. Instead, the storm will likely track over the mountains of Hispaniola and Cuba over the next few days, which should inhibit near term intensification. 

Laura is expected to exit Cuba and enter the Gulf of Mexico early next week. The center of the storm, and the most dangerous weather, should remain well southwest of Florida but hazardous conditions will still be possible in parts of the state.  Outer rain bands are expected to approach the Lower Keys Sunday and Monday. Locally heavy rainfall and storm surge flooding will be the primary hazards from these bands, and an isolated tornado cannot be ruled out. 

As Laura tracks northwestward Monday and Tuesday, there is the potential that outer rain bands could wrap onto Florida's Gulf Coast. Again, locally heavy rain, gusty winds, and storm surge flooding will be the primary hazards but isolated tornadoes cannot be ruled out. 

Locations farther inland and east will likely be not directly impacted by Laura, however large scale circulation around the system should draw deep tropical moisture overhead. In these areas, scattered to numerous showers and thunderstorms will be likely in the coming days- with locally heavy rainfall possible. 

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Megan Borowski