Update Saturday at 4:30 p.m.
Tropical Depression 18 was upgraded to Tropical Storm Philippe, as maximum sustained winds reach 40 miles per hour.
The system had already passed its nearest point to the Cayman Islands and sat over northwestern Cuba Saturday afternoon. Philippe was moving north toward southern Florida and the northern Bahamas at 29 miles per hour.
Heavy rainfall, flooding and mudslides are still a risk in the Cayman Islands. The National Roads Authority encouraged drivers to exercise caution, watch for potholes and to stay off the roads, unless otherwise necessary.
Update Saturday at 10:30 a.m.
Residents of low-lying areas in the Cayman Islands should continue to exercise caution, as an additional 4 to 8 inches of rain from Tropical Depression 18 were forecast to fall on the area over the next 24 hours. The Cayman Islands National Weather Service warned of continued flooding and strong winds Saturday.
Rough seas and waves up to 9 feet are expected, especially on the south and west coasts.
A marine and small craft warning remains in effect. Residents and marine interests should seek safe harbor.
Sustained winds in Grand Cayman will reach 28 miles per hour, accompanied by stronger gusts and heavy showers. Winds in the Sister Islands are forecast to reach 17 miles per hour.
Following an Air Force Reserve Reconnaissance mission, Potential Tropical Cyclone 18 was upgraded to Tropical Depression 18 Saturday morning, the U.S. National Hurricane Center reported. The depression is forecast to become a tropical storm by tonight.
The next named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season will be Philippe.
The system picked up speed as it moved north of the Cayman Islands and neared Isla de la Juventud on a north-northeastern trajectory at 22 miles per hour. As of 10 a.m., the storm was north of the Cayman Islands and 55 miles south of Cuba’s Isla de la Juventud.
The depression’s maximum sustained winds are reaching 35 miles per hour, the National Hurricane Center said.
The depression is expected to continue on a northeastern path and pick up speed tonight through Sunday. The center is projected to pass over west-central Cuba this afternoon, then across the Florida Straits tonight and the northwestern Bahamas Sunday morning.
A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the Cuban provinces of Isla de la Juventud, La Habana, Ciudad de la Habana, Matanzas, Cienfuegos and Villa Clara, and Northwestern Bahamas.
A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for portions of southeastern Florida, the upper Florida Keys from Craig Key to Golden Beach and Central Bahamas.
Update Friday at 8 p.m.
The National Hurricane Center forecast a total of 4 to 8 inches of rain associated with a tropical weather system could fall on the Cayman Islands through Saturday night.
A maximum of 10 inches may fall in parts of Cayman Islands, western and central Cuba and northwestern Bahamas, as Potential Tropical Cyclone 18 moves northwest.
While the Cayman Islands is not under a Tropical Storm Watch or Tropical Storm Warning, heavy rainfall may result in life-threatening flash floods and mudslides.
A faster northward motion is forecast to begin tonight. The system is then expected to move further northeast on Saturday and Sunday. It is currently moving north-northwest at 6 miles per hour.
Tropical storm development is expected Friday night or Saturday. The National Hurricane Center placed the chance of development at 80 percent over the next 48 hours.
Mapping by the National Hurricane Center shows the system passing north of the Cayman Islands, with its closest point to the islands occurring late Friday night and Saturday morning. The forecast path takes the system over western Cuba late Saturday and through the northwestern Bahamas Saturday night and early Sunday.
A Tropical Storm Warning has been issued for parts of Cuba, including Isla de la Juventud, La Habana, Ciudad de la Habana, Matanzas, Cienfuegos and Villa Clara, as well as Northwestern Bahamas.
A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for Central Bahamas.
A Tropical Storm Warning means tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours. A Tropical Storm Watch means tropical storm conditions are possible within 36 hours.
Residents of the Cayman Islands, South Florida and the Florida Keys are encouraged to follow weather reports and exercise caution.
A small craft warning remains in effect for the Cayman Islands.
Update Friday at 4:30 p.m.
The Cayman Islands National Weather Service issued a severe weather bulletin Friday afternoon, as a tropical system moved north. Low-lying areas will be at risk of continued flooding. Residents should exercise caution. Weather models forecast 1 to 1.25 inches of rain falling through tomorrow evening. Wind and sea force will gradually increase through tomorrow morning.
Marine crafts should seek safe harbor.
Update Friday at 4:00 p.m.
The National Hurricane Center has issued advisories for Potential Tropical Cyclone Eighteen. The system, moving northwest from the eastern coast of Nicaragua, was located 238 miles south of Grand Cayman as of 4 p.m.
Maximum sustained winds are reaching 40 miles per hour, the Cayman Islands National Weather Service reported.
Tropical storm warnings have been issued for northwestern Cuba and Isla de la Juventud. A Tropical Storm Watch has been issued for the northern Bahamas. No advisory has been issued for the Cayman Islands.
Storm mapping by the National Hurricane Center shows the center of the storm passing north of the Cayman Islands.
Cloudiness and showers are expected to affect the islands for the next 24 hours. Flooding may occur in low-lying areas. A small craft warning remains in effect.
Update Friday at 1:30 p.m.
Tropical depression or tropical storm development is likely in the Cayman Islands over the next 48 hours. The National Hurricane Center has upgraded the probability of development to 80 percent, as a tropical system moves north off the northeastern coast of Nicaragua.
Tropical storm watches and warnings have yet to be issued, but the National Hurricane Center advised they may be needed later today for the Cayman Islands, central and western Cuba and central and northwestern Bahamas.
Residents of the Florida Keys and South Florida are also advised to follow the progress of the storm.
An Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft is en route to investigate this system. More information is expected to be released by the Cayman Islands National Weather Service around 4:30 p.m.
The disturbance is expected to bring heavy rainfall to the Cayman Islands, Jamaica and Cuba during the next two days.
Rain and showers associated with a northern cold front are just the beginning of wet weather rolling over the Cayman Islands this weekend. A tropical system off the coast of northeastern Nicaragua became more concentrated and showed greater likelihood of development as it moved north.
The U.S National Hurricane Center advised Friday morning that the system had a 60 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm by Sunday, when a second cold front will make conditions less favorable.
Conditions are expected to be conducive for development as the system moves over the Cayman Islands and into the northwestern Caribbean. Once the system moves north of Cuba, increasing upper-level winds will make conditions less favorable.
Residents of the Cayman Islands, central and western Cuba and Jamaica are advised to expect locally heavy rainfall.
Scattered showers and heavy rains, associated with the first cold front, continued to pour down over the islands Friday morning. The Cayman Islands National Weather Service advised that flooding may occur in low-lying areas. Small crafts should exercise caution over open waters. Rough seas and waves reaching 6 feet are expected throughout the day.
An Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft was scheduled to investigate the tropical system Friday afternoon, if necessary. The next named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season is Philippe.