FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (Sun Sentinel/TNS) - A broad area of low pressure located over the northwestern Caribbean Sea now has a 90 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm over the next five days as it moves north and into the Gulf of Mexico, forecasters said Monday.
If the system does develop, it eventually could affect the Gulf Coast from Texas to the Florida Panhandle, according to forecasters.
“Basically, residents of Texas and North Florida should keep an eye on it,” said Jack Beven, a forecaster at National Hurricane Center.
As of 8 a.m. Monday, the broad area of low pressure extended from Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula across adjacent portions of the southeastern Gulf of Mexico.
Gradual development is expected Monday and Tuesday as the system moves across the southern and central Gulf.
Regardless of development, heavy rains are expected over portions of Central America, the Yucatan Peninsula, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and western Cuba during the next several days.
An Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft is scheduled to investigate this system Monday, if necessary, forecasters said.
When the second tropical storm of the 2017 season forms, with minimum sustained winds of 39 miles an hour, it would be named Bret.
Additionally, forecasters were watching a potential tropical cyclone about 485 miles southeast of Trinidad. It could reach tropical storm intensity by Monday.
At 8 a.m. Monday, this system was speeding west at 23 mph with maximum sustained winds of about 40 mph.
The system is expected to become a tropical storm by Monday night or Tuesday, according to the hurricane center.