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Weather & Natural Disasters

Tropical Depression Swirling Off Florida Threatens Heavy Rain; Flash Floods Hit Ohio

F. Brinley Bruton

Florida was getting set for a soaking as a tropical depression brewing off its southern coast looked likely to strengthen into tropical storm later Monday or early Tuesday.

The National Hurricane Center's (NHC) forecast path showed Tropical Depression Nine moving up from the Florida Keys toward the southern tip of the state and over into the Gulf of Mexico.

"The depression in the Gulf remains very poorly organized, which is good news for Florida," Weather Channel meteorologist Kevin Roth said.

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The weather system — which promised heavy rain and potential floods for both sides of the panhandle — still had a "decent chance" of becoming a tropical storm Monday night or early Tuesday, he added.

Roth said that if the storm made landfall it would hit in northern Florida between Apalachicola and Tampa on Thursday afternoon or evening with winds of around 50 mph.

While those two cities are north of the Zika outbreak that has been plaguing the Miami area, heavy rains bring with them the potential for flooding and pools of standing water.

"You obviously don't want standing water because that will allow the mosquitos to breed," Roth explained.

Gov. Rick Scott previously has warned residents of South Florida to have an emergency plan ready in case flooding occurs.

Related: Tropical System Could Make Fight Against Zika Harder

Meanwhile, heavy rains sparked flash floods and school closures in southwestern Ohio over the weeked.

Cincinnati was placed under a flash flood emergency on Sunday evening after thunderstorms poured three inches of rain on the city in the course of a couple of hours, The Weather Channel reported. Up to eight inches fell on parts of the city.

Residents also posted pictures and video of torrents of water rushing down streets. Traffic jams blocked Interstate 71 and some parts of the highway were even closed for the flooding, according to The Weather Channel.

St. Bernard-Elmwood Place City School District — around 6 miles north of Cincinnati — announced all its schools would be closed Monday due to reported that Norwood City Schools and Roger Bacon High School, and the Hamilton County Learning Center at North Norwood would also be closed Monday due to flooding and storm damage.

No injuries were reported in Ohio or neighboring Kentucky overnight.