With Florida in range, Gulf storm impact still unclear

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It could hit Florida. It could hit Baldwin County. It could go somewhere else entirely.

Meteorologists at the National Weather Service in Mobile are telling residents not to let down their guard as tropical depression nine churns.

Overnight, the area deemed invest 98 tuned into tropical depression nine. Since two other systems are also forming off of Africa, it will be a race to see which claims the next names on the list: Hermine and Ian.

Residents awoke to social media posts claiming the storm was headed squarely to Florida, but meteorologists say it is still too early to name a distinct path.

“At this point it is still a little murky,” said Morgan Barry, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Mobile. “We know it’s going to continue on its track across the Caribbean then start to make a turn.”

Barry said the general consensus among forecasters is that the storm will remain in the Gulf’s eastern half, so cities in Texas can likely breathe a sigh of relief. Everyone else, however, needs to remain vigilant.

“We can’t rule out just about anything,” Barry said. “At this point we are so far out it’s tough to tell exactly where it’s going to go.”

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