Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis issued a state of emergency across 24 counties in anticipation of a major hurricane.
Tropical depression No. 9 formed in the Caribbean Sea early Friday, packing top winds of 35 mph.
In its official five-day forecast, the depression is expected to become a tropical storm as soon as Friday. The storm could form into a hurricane by Monday.
The hurricane’s forecast path then goes through Cuba before possibly making landfall in Florida on Wednesday. The National Hurricane Center said when issuing its forecast on Friday that there is fairly high uncertainty over the storm’s forecast.
“This storm has the potential to strengthen into a major hurricane and we encourage all Floridians to make their preparations," DeSantis said. "We are coordinating with all state and local government partners to track potential impacts of this storm.”
Forecasters said there are a number of different potential paths the system could take. Forecasters generally agree the storm is moving toward a more favorable area for tropical development.
The National Hurricane Center said residents of the eastern Gulf Coast of the U.S. should monitor the storm’s progress.
A potential hurricane next week could also prompt a federal response. Currently, 700 workers from the Federal Emergency Management Agency are in Puerto Rico assisting with recovery efforts following Hurricane Fiona.