Tropical Storm Nate likely to form from system in Caribbean

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National Hurricane Center

National Hurricane Center (The forecast track of Tropical Depression 16. )

After a brief pause in tropical activity, another system formed Wednesday in the Caribbean and will likely become Tropical Storm Nate, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Tropical Depression 16 is located about 180 miles south-southeast of Cabo Gracias a Dios on the border of Nicaragua and Honduras, the weather service said in its 5 p.m. ET advisory.

The system has sustained winds of about 35 mph, moving northwest at 7 mph, and is expected "to become a tropical storm overnight."

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"On the forecast track, the depression should be nearing the coast of Nicaragua early Thursday, move across northeastern Nicaragua and eastern Honduras late Thursday, and emerge into the northwestern Caribbean Sea on Friday," the NHC said.

The government of Nicaragua has issued a Tropical Storm Warning for the coast of Nicaragua from Sandy Bay Sirpi northward to the Honduras border. In Honduras, the government has issued a Tropical Storm Warning for the coast of Honduras from Punta Castilla eastward to the border with Nicaragua.

A hurricane watch could be issued for the Yucatan Peninsula as early as Tuesday night.

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Rainfall amounts of 15 to 20 inches are expected across portions of Nicaragua, with isolated maximum amounts of 30 inches and could cause "life-threatening flash floods and mudslides."

The system's proximity to, or possibly moving over land will keep it disorganized in the short term, but strengthening is more likely later Friday into Saturday as it moves northward, according to Fox News Meterologist Brandon Noriega.

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Any possible impact from the storm on the United States is not yet clear, but the NHC's forecast cone shows it may approach the eastern Gulf Coast near the Florida panhandle as a hurricane by Sunday.

"While there is still some model disagreement on track and intensity, the Gulf coast from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle must closely monitor forecast updates and think about preparations as a strengthening tropical storm or hurricane may impact these areas on Sunday," Noriega said.

Nate would be the 14th named storm of the year, and come after a month of devastation from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria.

Forecasters said the Atlantic hurricane season would be "above-normal," with 14 to 19 by the peak season.

An average Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, produces 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes, according to NOAA.

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