Hurricane center: Tropical depression develops, expected to move into western Gulf
Tropical Depression Twenty-Two formed Thursday and the National Hurricane Center said the system expected to become a tropical storm is forecast to move into the western Gulf.
The storm is "expected to generally meander over the western Gulf of Mexico into the weekend," the hurricane center noted in its latest advisory.
Maximum sustained winds are near 35 mph with higher gusts. Some strengthening is forecast during the next couple of days, and the depression could become a tropical storm on Friday, the hurricane center said.
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The system off the coast of Mexico surfaced Wednesday in an area of upper-level winds conducive for development.
The hurricane center is not projecting where the storm might make landfall, instead noting that "interests along the western Gulf of Mexico" should monitor its progress.
A tropical depression formed Thursday and is expected to move into the western Gulf next week.
Another system off the coast of Africa is likely to develop into a tropical depression in the next few days. Environmental conditions are favorable for development and it's moving west at 10-15 mph on a path moving toward the Caribbean, according to the hurricane center.
The system's projected path brings it closer to the Caribbean over the next five days.
The storms are part of six systems being monitored by the hurricane center, four of which have been named storms — Sally, Teddy and Vicky. Hurricane Sally made landfall Wednesday at Gulf Shores, Alabama, and is moving through Georgia.
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There is only one name left on the official list of Atlantic storm names, but about two and half months left in the official season.
Only Wilfred is left on the list of 21 storm names pre-approved for the season by the World Meteorological Organization.
Once the hurricane center assigns that last name on the list, it will move into the Greek alphabet. That's only happened once before. The hyperactive 2005 season wound up using six Greek names: Tropical Storm Alpha, Hurricane Beta, Tropical Storm Gamma, Tropical Storm Delta, Hurricane Epsilon and Tropical Storm Zeta.
If Wilfred forms, it's likely to be the earliest "W" storm on record.