A tropical depression strengthened into Tropical Storm Philippe as it dumped heavy rains over central and western Cuba, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said Saturday.
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.
As of the 5 p.m. Saturday evening advisory on Philippe, the storm has an area of sustained winds hitting 40 miles per hour, but mainly focused east and southeast of the center of the system.
Tropical storm warnings are in effect for parts of Cuba.
The storm is now located about 170 miles south-southwest of Havana, Cuba, and is already bringing heavy rains to the island and as far north as Florida Keys. "For that reason, a tropical storm watch has been issued for these areas". We are tracking Tropical Depression Eighteen in the Caribbean. A couple of brief tornadoes are also possible along the Florida Keys and southern Florida as early as Saturday afternoon and evening.
"While this is not now a developed storm, we know how quickly weather can change and how important it is for every family to be prepared", the governor said, in a statement issued late Friday afternoon.
While the system likely won't bring strong winds to Florida, it does have the potential to bring heavy rain and strong storms.
This image shows the projected path of Tropical Storm Philippe on October 28, 2017.