Storms Brewing in Caribbean May Target Gulf of Mexico Next Week

(Bloomberg) -- A growing patch of thunderstorms near the Turks and Caicos Islands could slip into the Gulf of Mexico and become the Atlantic hurricane season’s seventh named storm by next week, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said.

The system has a 40 percent chance of becoming a tropical system by Sept. 6, government forecasters said early Saturday.

Forecasters have wavered on the storm’s chances for strengthening over the past few days. While they were more confident on Thursday, enthusiasm waned Friday. The hurricane center said upper level winds, preventing the storm from forming now, could subside as it moves from the Caribbean Sea into the Gulf of Mexico.

Whether it manages to organize into a tropical system or not, it’s expected to bring heavy rain to the U.S. Gulf Coast. Four to seven inches (10 to 18 centimeters) of rain could fall from Texas to Mississippi over the next week, according to the U.S. Weather Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland.

Further to the east, Tropical Storm Florence is forecast to drift into the central Atlantic Ocean without becoming a threat to land. The storm brought heavy rain to Cabo Verde off Africa’s west coast earlier in the week.

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