'Stay home': Tropical storm expected to form in Atlantic after storm soaks Miami, swamps cars

Southern Florida was hit with heavy rainfall and gusty winds Saturday as a storm system flooded streets, stranded cars and threatened to form into a tropical storm after passing over land.

The storm system, dubbed Potential Tropical Cyclone One by the National Hurricane Center, would be named Alex if it becomes a tropical storm.

The National Hurricane Center warned of continued flooding in cities across southern Florida into Saturday evening.

The Florida Keys and the northwestern Bahamas also saw heavy rain Saturday. Tropical storm conditions were forecast for Saturday in Florida and in the northwestern Bahamas by afternoon.

The center also forecast maximum sustained winds of 40 mph with higher gusts, and rainfall of about 6 to 10 inches in South Florida with isolated highs of 15 inches.

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By early Saturday afternoon, between 7 and 13 inches had already fallen in Miami, according to the National Weather Service in Miami.

"After nearly a foot of rain, a very dangerous situation has unfolded with cars submerged and stranded underwater" in southern Florida, according to AccuWeather.

Miami already saw flash flooding Saturday morning as fire crews responded to multiple reports of cars stuck in floodwaters and advised residents to stay off roads.

The City of Miami also posted videos on Twitter of flooded streets and stranded cars, warning of "extremely dangerous" road conditions and calling the storm "a dangerous and life-threatening situation."

"Stay home and don’t walk or drive on flooded roads," the tweet said. "Do not attempt to retrieve stranded vehicles."

While South Florida canal levels were lowered to minimize flooding, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said most government services, including buses and trains, plan to operate normally over the weekend.

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As of Saturday afternoon, the storm system was located 15 miles south-southwest of Fort Pierce, Florida, and was moving northeast at 18 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. It was forecast to move over southern and central Florida Saturday before turning eastward Sunday.

The storm system, known as Hurricane Agatha when it previously hurtled through the Pacific Ocean, hit southern Florida after battering Cuba, where it killed three people, damaged dozens of homes, caused landslides and knocked out power in some areas.

The storm also previously brought flooding and mudslides to Mexico, leaving nearly a dozen people dead and 20 missing.

It is expected to become a tropical storm off Florida's east coast Saturday night before strengthening and moving away from the state and over the western Atlantic early next week.

Contributing: Claire Thornton, USA TODAY

Contributing: The Associated Press

Contact News Now Reporter Christine Fernando at cfernando@usatoday.com or follow her on Twitter at @christinetfern.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Storm could be named Alex near Florida; flooding hits Miami