Tropical Depression 18 has strengthened to Tropical Storm Philippe, according to the National Hurricane Center becoming the 16th named storm of 2017.
Philippe is better organized as of Saturday evening and currently has top winds of 40 mph and is moving north very fast, at 29 mph.
The system is causing heavy rains across the Central Americas and Western Cuba. While additional strengthening is possible with this system, Philippe is not expected to be a hurricane.
Philippe will continue to move northwards, then northeast through South Florida by Sunday morning, continuing to be a rainmaker for Southwest Florida through Saturday night with rain tapering off by sunrise Sunday. Localized flooding will also be possible in areas that get excessive rainfall accumulations.
With the current forecast track, Southwest Florida will remain on the west side of the storm and avoid the strongest winds and severe weather associated with Philippe. However, we can expect the winds to pick up by Sunday morning with gusts as high as 30 mph possible throughout the day Sunday. Stronger winds will be found on the east coast, where a Tropical Storm Watch has been issued for Craig Key to Golden Beach, Florida.