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RODANTHE, N.C. — Beachgoers, boat captains and business owners on North Carolina's Outer Banks warily eyed a potent tropical weather system that could rain out one of the last busy weeks of the summer.
Forecasters expected the first system to become a tropical storm before brushing the North Carolina coast Tuesday, bringing heavy rain and high winds to the barrier islands popular for serene beaches.
Another tropical depression in the Gulf of Mexico could hit northern Florida as a tropical storm later in the week and possibly head toward the Atlantic coast, forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami said. They cautioned that the storm's exact path remained uncertain days in advance.
Coastal Dare County in North Carolina could face winds of up to 45 mph with higher gusts and heavy rain that could flood low-lying areas from through Wednesday, according to an emergency management news release. To the south, Carteret County officials also warned of flooding and advised residents to monitor forecasts.
A tropical storm warning was issued for areas of the coast from Cape Lookout to the Oregon Inlet along the Outer Banks.
As of early Tuesday, the first depression was about 115 miles southeast of Cape Hatteras with top sustained winds of 35 mph and moving to the northwest. It was expected to become a tropical storm by Tuesday but not grow stronger than that, National Weather Service meteorologist Shane Kearns said.
The second depression was about 240 miles west of Key West, Florida, with maximum winds of 35 mph. It was moving west, but forecasters expect it could curve back to the northeast in the coming days.
Authorities at some locations in the Tampa-St. Petersburg area of Florida were hauling out sandbags Monday to offer residents amid predictions of heavy rains.