At 8am EDT Monday, Tropical Storm Sandy was located 95 miles south of Kingston, Jamaica, or approximately 726 miles south-southeast of Miami, Florida.
Sandy is currently moving toward the north at 14 mph and this general motion, with an increase in forward speed, is expected over the next 2 days before turning more northeast ahead of an approaching cold front.
The official forecast from the National Hurricane Center shows Sandy passing over Jamaica this afternoon, eastern Cuba late tonight and tomorrow morning, and then through the Bahamas Thursday night and Friday.
Maximum sustained winds have increased to 70 mph, and additional strengthening is forecast over the next 48 hours. Sandy is currently forecast to become a hurricane by the time it reaches Jamaica, but there is also a 67% chance Sandy remains a tropical storm.
Some weakening is expected beyond 72 hours as Sandy encounters increasing wind shear as it moves into the Bahamas. Sandy is then forecast to become post-tropical or a hybrid system by Sunday or Monday.
Elsewhere, Tropical Depression #19 strengthened into Tropical Storm Tony late Tuesday night and as of 5am EDT was located about 1,145 miles west-southwest of the Azores Islands.
Maximum sustained winds are near 45 mph, but some strengthening is possible over the next 24 hours. After that time, the storm will begin to move into an area of cooler waters and increasing wind shear and Tony will likely lose tropical characteristics by Thursday or Friday.
At this time, the forecast track and distance Tropical Storm Sandy will stay from Florida is quite uncertain, but South Florida and the rest of the Atlantic Coast could see some fringe or indirect impacts later this week.
Tropical Storm Watch has been issued for the Southeast Florida coast from Jupiter Inlet southward through Craig Key, including Florida Bay for the potential for tropical storm force winds but no part of Florida is within the 5 day cone of error.
Areas of east-central and south Florida have a 3-13% chance of receiving tropical storm force winds within the next five days.
Regardless of the track, an expanding wind field could create windy conditions for portions of Florida. Sustained winds of 15-25mph may begin Wednesday for the South Florida and along the Florida East Coast and continue through Saturday, peaking on Friday where sustained winds could reach 30-35mph. During this time, wind gusts could reach as high as 50-60 mph, primarily at the immediate coast or just offshore.
Waves will be the primary threat resulting in beach erosion, coastal flooding and a high rip current risk lasting as long as the middle of next week. Breakers as high as 8-10 feet at the coast and 20 feet offshore are forecast. If the storm tracks closer to the Sunshine State, these effects could be greater. Small Craft Advisories are already in effect for most of the Florida coastal waters and a Rip Current Statement has been issued for the coastline of Northeast Florida from Nassau County through Flagler County.
Tropical Storm Tony is not expected to have direct impacts on the Sunshine State.
More information on Tropical Storm Sandy and Tropical Storm Tony can be found at www.nhc.noaa.gov.