Update: 4:51pm ET - Tropical Storm Warnings now issued for the east coast of Florida.
Update: 11:04am ET - NHC has now upgraded Sandy to hurricane strength with winds of 80mph. Also, the tropical storm watches have now been extended northward up the east coast of Florida to the Volusia / Brevard county line.
Tropical Storm Sandy is currently nearing hurricane strength just south of Jamaica late this morning.
The National Hurricane Center earlier this morning issued Tropical Storm Watches for the Florida southeast coast, as tropical storm conditions are possible starting tomorrow through Friday as Sandy tracks by just to the east over the Bahamas.
Sandy is expected to be a hurricane when it hits Jamaica later today and Cuba on Thursday, but then is expected to weaken from interaction with land as the storm exits the north coast of Cuba and heads for the Bahamas. It is still unclear if Sandy will regain hurricane status once in the Bahamas Islands, but Sandy is forecast to be a large wind-field cyclone as it tracks offshore Florida.
This large wind-field is expected to bring some low-end (40-50mph) tropical storm force winds from Jupiter Inlet down to the middle Florida Keys Thursday and Friday. Now, these winds could be even stronger if Sandy was to take a closer track to the Southeast Florida coastline, and everybody should prepare at least for tropical storm conditions Thursday and Friday along the immediate southeastern Florida coastal beaches and possibly up into the Space Coast Friday.
Storm Visuals.com will be covering any of the Florida effects from Sandy starting tomorrow through the weekend, and will be posting pictures and video from area beaches as the weather deteriorates.