Florida braces for heavy rains that could lead to flooding, mosquito breeding

MIAMI -- South Florida is bracing for possible floods, as a system that could become a tropical storm is churning off the coast, threatening the region with several days of heavy rain.

It comes as the Miami area is struggling to contain the Zika virus -- spread by local mosquitoes -- which can breed in just a bottle cap of water, CBS News’ Omar Villfranca reported from Miami Beach.

Sunbathers flocked to Miami Beach on Sunday to soak in the sun before the storm rolls in. The ocean winds are expected to bring in several days of rain including heavy downpours.

Right now, the main concern at the shore is the strong rip current. On land however, health officials want to make sure pooling water from possible floods​ doesn’t turn into a widespread breeding-ground for mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus.

Property owners face a $1,000 fine for not getting rid of pools of standing water. In Florida, a total of 42 people have contracted the Zika virus from local mosquitoes, and 38 of those cases are in Miami-Dade County. 

Meanwhile in North Carolina, forecasters say a tropical depression has formed in the Atlantic west of Bermuda, bringing the possibility of heavy rain to the coast. 

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami says the depression is located about 405 mph southeast of Cape Hatteras and is moving west at 9 mph. Maximum sustained winds were clocking at 35 mph, with higher gusts.

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Carlos Varas, a Miami-Dade County mosquito control inspector, uses a Golden Eagle blower to spray pesticide to kill mosquitos in the Miami Beach neighborhood as the county fights to control the Zika virus outbreak on August 24, 2016 in Miami Beach, Florida. 

Joe Raedle, Getty Images

The storm’s center is expected to pass offshore of the Outer Banks of North Carolina on Tuesday.

Separately, Hurricane Gaston is gathering strength as it moves northwestward in the Atlantic, but forecasters say it poses no threat to land. The center says Gaston reformed as a hurricane Saturday night.

On Sunday, Gaston was clocking maximum sustained winds of 105 mph winds. The storm was located about 600 miles east of Bermuda. Gaston was moving northwest at about 5 mph.

Hurricane-force winds extended outward up to 25 miles from the center, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 140 miles.