Tropical depressions target Florida, North Carolina

MIAMI -- A tropical depression that formed in the Florida Straits was moving into the southeastern Gulf of Mexico early Monday and the U.S. National Hurricane Center said it could soon become a tropical storm.

The depression’s maximum sustained winds were near 35 mph with some strengthening expected during the next two days. Forecasters said it could become a tropical storm later in the day or overnight.

At 11 a.m. Monday, the center of the system was about 170 miles west-southwest of Key West, CBS  Miami reports. Maximum sustained winds were sitting at 35 mph with higher gusts.

The depression was expected to bring 3 to 5 inches of rain over the southern Florida peninsula and the Florida Keys through Wednesday that could cause flooding and flash flooding.

Meanwhile, another tropical depression that formed west of Bermuda was moving toward the coast of North Carolina. That depression is expected to become a tropical storm overnight and threatens to bring wind and rain to eastern North Carolina. It’s maximum sustained winds Monday morning were near 35 mph with slow strengthening forecast during the next two days.

As of 11 a.m. Monday, the tropical depression was about 200 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras’ beaches and moving to the northeast. Forecasters expect it to become a tropical storm before brushing the North Carolina coast Tuesday.

A tropical storm watch was in effect for North Carolina’s coast from Cape Lookout to Oregon Inlet.

In North Carolina, Jennifer Scarborough is the manager of a marina in Hatteras. She says that some captains are canceling or rescheduling fishing trips. She fears the first storm could saturate the area and the second storm could bring another blow if it comes their way.

Farther east, Hurricane Gaston has weakened a little as it drifted northward in the middle of the Atlantic.