By Letitia Stein
TAMPA, Fla. (Reuters) - North Carolina's far east coast could see tropical storm-force winds from a weather system expected to pass near its Outer Banks region on Tuesday before it turns out to sea, U.S. forecasters said.
The tropical depression, which has yet to be named, could strengthen into a tropical storm later on Tuesday, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. As of morning, it was blowing winds of 35 miles per hour (55 km) and was located about 135 miles south-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.
The state's Outer Banks region could see heavy rainfall and a minor storm surge, the National Weather Service in Newport, North Carolina said in a weather advisory. Little impact was expected elsewhere in the state.
Forecasters were also tracking another tropical depression developing off the coast of Cuba, which was expected to churn toward Florida's Gulf Coast later in the week. The hurricane center expected it would strengthen into a tropical storm on Tuesday.
On its current path, the system could make landfall on Florida's north-central Gulf Coast on Thursday, bringing storms into Georgia and the eastern Carolinas on its way to the Atlantic Ocean.
Florida planned to raise the activation status of its State Emergency Operations Center on Tuesday to begin preparing.
Forecasters warned the system could dump five to 10 inches (13 to 25 cm) of rain over much of Florida by Friday, and some areas could be pounded by up to 15 inches (38 cm) of rain.
(Editing by Bernadette Baum)