FLORIDA KEYS (CBS4) – While no watches, warnings or protective alerts have been issued for residents and visitors in the Florida Keys, emergency managers have asked everyone to closely monitor Hurricane Irene’s progress.

“If the current forecast track holds true, no significant impacts are anticipated for the Keys,” said Jon Rizzo, warning coordinator for the Key West National Weather Service Office, in a written statement.

Tropical storm force winds are possible in the Florida Straits off the Upper Keys Wednesday night through Thursday evening, said Rizzo who added that there was a 40 to 50 percent chance for tropical storm force winds in the Middle and Upper Keys Thursday.

Boaters in the Keys should remain in port beginning Wednesday afternoon. Rizzo said, adding that seas in the Gulf Stream, well off the Upper Keys could be as high as 14 feet Wednesday evening and Thursday.

Currently, only the Upper Keys are in the National Hurricane Center’s four-and five-day tropical cyclone forecast track-error cone. Because of that Monroe Emergency Management Director Irene Toner counseled Keys residents and visitors not to be complacent and urged continued monitoring of the storm and be prepared to take action in the event of a change in forecast track.


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