A potential tropical storm is keeping local supervisors of elections on alert this weekend. The storm still remains disorganized out in the Bahamas, but it could become a tropical depression or tropical storm over the next several days.
It may not have a big impact on the Panhandle, but Bay County Supervisor of Elections Mark Andersen is encouraging voters to cast their ballots ahead of time.
“We all know we live in Florida," Andersen says. "You should not wait until Election Day right now, given the fact that there is a possibility of a tropical storm or even higher headed our way during that timeline for Election Day. Please don’t wait. Please go and vote now.”
Andersen says depending on how the weather progresses, early voting in the county could be extended into Sunday as well as the addition of new voting locations.
As of Thursday afternoon, the National Hurricane Center says there’s a 40 percent chance the storm will become more serious in the next two days. The probability heightens over the next five days to 70 percent.
On his daily forecast, WUFT’s meteorologist Jeff Huffman said the disturbance won’t be called a tropical storm until it forms a tight center.
“Despite wind gusts over 50 miles per hour and some of the thunderstorms around Invest 99, there still wasn’t a tightly wound, closed center of circulation," Huffman said. "Until then, the National Hurricane Center will likely not name it Tropical Storm Hermine.”
The National Hurricane Center says South Florida and Florida Keys residents should monitor the storm for heavy rain and gusty winds, which could begin over the weekend.
For more news updates, follow Tori Whitley on Twitter: @_toriwhitley.