Tropical Storm Emily is keeping South and Central Florida guessing, as it still is projected to parallel state's east coast on Saturday, close enough to be in striking distance.
For that reason, the National Hurricane Center is urging residents of South Florida to "monitor the progress of Emily."
At 5 p.m., the storm was in the Caribbean about 60 miles southeast of Isla Beata, Dominican Republic, moving west at 14 mph with sustained winds of 50 mph.
As is stands, the Saturday forecast in both South Florida and Orlando calls for mostly sunny skies and a 30 percent chance of rain. Further, only a slice of the state's eastern side is now in the cone of uncertainty.
However, if the system draws much closer, squally conditions could spread over the state's eastern seaboard, forecasters said.
For now, Emily's projected path makes its closest approach to the state near West Palm Beach, coming within about 125 miles. At that time, it is expected to have sustained winds of between 50 and 60 mph.
If Emily were to take a turn toward Florida, the state would be on Emily's left - or weak - side. The system's tropical force winds extend 115 miles to the north and the east of its core.
The storm has been hampered by wind shear and dry air over the past day, preventing it from intensifying and becoming well organized.
It now faces the possibility of being weakened further when it passes over Hispaniola and eastern Cuba on Wednesday night and Thursday.
After it clears those islands, the system should regroup and strengthen, said senior hurricane specialist Lixion Avila of the National Hurricane Center.
The long-range forecast calls for Emily to intensify into a hurricane on Monday, while it is far off the coast ofNorth Carolina.
More immediately, Emily's heavy rains and gusty winds are expected to pelt the Dominican Republic and Haiti by Wednesday evening and the southern Bahamas on Thursday.
Emily threatens to produce up to 12 inches of rain over Puerto Rico and up to 20 inches over Haiti and the Domincan Republic, which could produce life threatening floods and mudslides, the hurricane center said.
Seasonal forecast update: Storm prognosticators Phil Klotzbach and William Gray are standing pat with their June forecast, calling for 16 named storms, including nine hurricanes, five major.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration releases its updated seasonal outlook on Thursday.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun