Possible hurricane developing in the Gulf of Mexico
Janice Dean shares latest details.
After a brief pause in tropical activity, another system formed in the Caribbean and will likely become Tropical Storm Nate, the National Hurricane Center said Thursday.
Tropical Depression 16 is located about 50 miles south of Puerto Cabezas, Nicaragua, the weather service said in its 5 a.m. ET advisory.
The forecast track of Tropical Depression 16. (Fox News)
The system has sustained winds of about 35 mph, moving northwest at 7 mph, and "could strengthen to a tropical storm before it moves inland over northeastern Nicaragua" on Thursday.
"On the forecast track, the center of the depression should move across northeastern Nicaragua and eastern Honduras later today and then over the northwestern Caribbean Sea Thursday night and Friday," the NHC said.
The government of Mexico has issued a Hurricane Watch along the northern coast of the Yucatan peninsula from Punta Herrero to Rio Lagartos.
A Tropical Storm Warning is also in effect from Sandy Bay Sirpi, Nicaragua to Punta Castilla, Honduras.
"Interests elsewhere in Honduras, the Bay Islands, western Cuba and the Yucatan Peninsula should monitor the progress of the depression," the NHC said.
TRACK THE STORM AT MYFOXHURRICANE.COM.
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 into Saturday as it moves northward, eventually into the Gulf of Mexico, according to Fox News Senior Meterologist Janice Dean.
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.
"Track timing and intensity is still yet to be determined, but 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," Dean said.
NOAA predicts most active hurricane season since 2010
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.