The forecast from the U.S. National Hurricane Center shows a medium probability of subtropical development of the storm, which will form off the southeast coast of the country. Although not named, the storm will cause significant rain and winds in some areas of the East Coast.
(CNN) -- A cyclone that will form off the southeastern U.S. coast later this week will cause wind gusts, heavy rain and dangerous storm surges from Florida to New England as it moves north into the weekend.
An area of low pressure is likely to develop off the east coast of Florida during the early hours of Friday. With the right conditions, this low pressure could even develop enough to receive a storm name from the National Hurricane Center.
The next two Atlantic storm names are Ophelia and Philippe.
According to the National Hurricane Center, there is a 40% chance that this area of low pressure will become a subtropical storm over the weekend, which is a cyclone that is not totally tropical, although it has some characteristics of a tropical storm.
But the difference in global impact between the two is minimal, as subtropical storms continue to produce strong winds and can spread torrential rains far from the storm's center. The storm's impact on a wide swath of the East Coast will also be the same, regardless of whether it gets its name.
Rain and thunderstorms are expected to drench parts of Florida's northeast coast Wednesday night and Thursday as the storm slowly forms. Breeze conditions will also develop Thursday and churn up surf along the coast of Florida and Georgia.
- Why coastal communities should fear storm surges
As the coastal storm becomes more organized Friday, precipitation will shift north and east in parts of the Carolinas and Virginia.
The greatest risk of heavy rain is expected in eastern North Carolina, where the National Weather Service in Morehead City warned that rain from Friday to the weekend could be substantial, with widespread totals likely 101 to 152mm in the far east of the state. Heavy and prolonged rains could cause flooding, especially in low-lying or poorly drained areas.
Wind speeds will also increase on Friday, with gusts of 50 to 65 km/h in coastal areas of the Carolinas north of Delaware. These gusts of wind, along with soggy soil, can cause trees to fall, which could lead to property damage and power outages.
Rain from the coastal storm will extend hundreds of miles from its center and bring moisture to parts of the mid-Atlantic through Saturday and even parts of New England on Saturday night. The heaviest rainfall will remain largely limited to nearshore areas, but inland areas will still have to deal with stormy weather that could disrupt outdoor plans.
As the storm moves north, the risk of dangerous rip currents along much of the East Coast will increase, stirring up dangerous storm surges.
U.S. East Coast