A hurricane watch was issued for the New Orleans metropolitan area. Sally is expected to become a hurricane Monday night

Tropical Storm Sally formed this Saturday off the coast of South Florida and is now heading for the Gulf of Mexico.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecast is that keep gaining strength and become a hurricane early next week (Monday night), as you move through the northeast Gulf of Mexico.

In the 5:00 p.m. forecast from the National Hurricane Center, forecasters indicated that a hurricane watch has already gone into effect for the New Orleans metropolitan area.

The notice and the risk of hurricane force winds and storm surge it stretches from Grand Isle, Louisiana, to the Alabama-Florida border, including Lake Pontchartrain and Lake Maurepas, in Louisiana, and the city of New Orleans.

There is also a flood warning in portions of the state of Florida, where it hasn’t stopped raining since the early hours of Saturday. And they make clear that there is a chance that portions of the Gulf Coast will suddenly flood between now and Tuesday.

Authorities advise residents to closely monitor the progress of the system, because watches could be issued not only for tropical storm or hurricane, but also for storm surge.

In northern Florida, in the area known as the Panhandle there are tropical storm watch. Strong gusts of wind are expected throughout the Peninsula.

An active season

According to forecasters, the storm is likely to become potentially fatal in various areas of the Gulf of Mexico coast starting Monday.

Sally intensified after being a tropical depression off the coast of South Florida, and it was heading on Saturday to the warmer waters of the Gulf. It is the storm that has formed with the most anticipation being the 18th named in an active tropical season, surpassing Stan, which formed on October 2, 2006.

While, Tropical Storm Paulette had maximum sustained winds of 70 miles per hour and was at 460 mph southeast of Bermuda, where hurricane and tropical storm warnings were in force. Forecasters said Paulette would turn into a hurricane Saturday night, dumping up to six inches (15 centimeters) of rain on the territory on Monday. They added that it will become a « dangerous hurricane » when approaching Bermuda on Sunday night and early Monday morning.

The National Hurricane Center warned that Sally would bring a downpour near the Florida Keys and towns in the south and west of the state. It features maximum sustained winds of 65 kph (40 mph) with strong gusts. It is expected to pick up even more strength in the coming days.

An Air Force hurricane chaser plane was scheduled to investigate the system Saturday night.

Sally was 30 miles (45 kilometers) south-southeast of Naples Saturday afternoon, according to the National Hurricane Center. It was traveling west at 7 mph. A tropical storm watch was issued from the Okaloosa and Walton county lines to the Alabama-Florida border.

With information from AP.