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TROPICAL SYSTEM SIXTEEN FORMS IN GULF OF MEXICO, TARGETING FLORIDA PANHANDLE

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The National Hurricane Center is tracking a tropical system that is expected to be a named tropical storm later today.

The disturbance was centered near latitude 22.4 North, longitude 95.7 West (just off the eastern coast of Mexico). The system is moving toward the north near 8 mph. A turn toward the northeast is expected this afternoon or tonight, and a northeastward motion at a faster forward speed is expected on Friday and Saturday. On the forecast track, the system will approach the northern Gulf coast Friday and Friday night. Its current projected landfall city is Panama City, Florida late Friday night or early Saturday morning.

Maximum current sustained winds are near 35 mph with higher gusts. The disturbance is expected to develop into a tropical storm later today or tonight, with slow strengthening

The disturbance is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 2 to 4 inches this weekend from the central Gulf Coast and northern and central Florida to the eastern Carolinas, with isolated maximum amounts of 5 inches.

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