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System is unlikely to be tropical storm but could still cause floods in Cuba, Haiti

A potential tropical cyclone bringing life-threatening floods and mudslides across Jamaica, Hispaniola and Cuba is no longer expected to be a tropical storm, forecasters said Friday night.

The chances that the disturbance might strengthen into a tropical storm continued to decrease Friday, but its heavy rains were already dousing portions of Jamaica, southeastern Cuba and Haiti, the hurricane center said.

While a tropical-storm watch was discontinued for Cuba and the Bahamas, Haiti still remains under one.

Haiti’s disaster office says it has received reports of mudslides in the Grand’Anse region in the west. The office had people in shelters in the southern part of the country.

“This phenomenon has already caused bad weather conditions, especially in the South, Grand’Anse and Southeast,” Haitian authorities said Friday morning.

Here’s what else the hurricane center said in its 7 p.m. advisory:

Where is potential Tropical Cyclone 22 going?

The tropical system was 85 miles northeast of Montego Bay, Jamaica, and about 140 miles west-southwest of Guantanamo, Cuba. It was moving to the northeast at around 17 mph.

Its center is expected to move across southeastern Cuba tonight and the southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos on Saturday morning.

Will the tropical system get stronger?

The disturbance’s maximum sustained winds were near 35 mph with higher gusts.

At 10 a.m., the system had a 40% chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm. But that was no longer the case by 7 p.m.

“Some slight strengthening is possible during the next couple of days, but the system’s chance of becoming a tropical cyclone is decreasing,” the hurricane center said.

Formation chance through 48 hours: 20%

Formation chance through seven days: 20%

What areas are under a tropical-storm watch?

A tropical-storm watch is in effect for Haiti. All other watches were discontinued.

What are the key hazards?

Tropical-storm winds, several inches of rain, storm surge and rough surf might impact countries beyond the Caribbean islands.

Wind: Tropical-storm conditions are possible across Haiti through tonight.

Rainfall: The system is expected to produce 4-8 inches of rain with maximum amounts of 16 inches across portions of Jamaica, southeast Cuba, and southern Hispaniola through Sunday. These rains are likely to cause flash flooding, along with mudslides.

Two to four inches of rain is expected across the southeastern Bahamas and Turks and Caicos, with .possible flash flooding in urban areas.

Storm surge: Minor coastal flooding is possible along the southeastern coast of Cuba, the southeastern Bahamas, and the Turks and Caicos.

Surf: Swells generated by the disturbance are expected to affect portions of Jamaica, Haiti, and southeastern Cuba through Saturday. ”These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions,” the center said.

Will it affect Florida?

No major impacts from this system are expected in the Sunshine State.

The next complete advisory is at 10 p.m.

Miami Herald Caribbean Correspondent Jacqueline Charles contributed to this report.