New tropical system threatens Gulf Coast

The National Hurricane Center is watching a tropical disturbance off the coast of Honduras that is showing signs of becoming dangerous and creating a path toward the Gulf Coast.

Tropical Cyclone 14, as it’s currently known, is expected to be upgraded into Tropical Storm Michael by Sunday night, and could reach winds of 70 mph by Wednesday when it’s expected to make landfall.

Potential tropical cyclone 14 

It’s too soon to know the exact path or magnitude of the system, but it is expected to bring torrential rains and flooding to western Cuba, the Yucatan Peninsula and Central America before striking the U.S., according to the Weather Channel.

Saturday morning, the National Hurricane Center upgraded the system’s chances of strengthening into a cyclone in the next two days to 80 percent, which doubled Friday’s prediction of 40 percent.

Forecasters are even more confident that the system will upgrade into a cyclone in the next five days, likely forming in the northwestern Caribbean Sea or the southern Gulf of Mexico.

The storm’s path then leads quickly north, according to the latest models, with landfall somewhere between the Mississippi coast and the Florida panhandle at 1 p.m. Wednesday.

“The system could bring storm surge, rainfall, and wind impacts to portions of the northern Gulf Coast by mid-week, although it is too soon to specify the exact location and magnitude of these impacts,” according to the forecast discussion from the National Hurricane Center. “Residents in these areas should monitor the progress of this system.”

Tropical storm warnings already have been issued for parts of Western Cuba.

In October, hurricanes more often form in the Caribbean and head toward Florida and the gulf.

Effects from the storm could reach as far as West Virginia on Thursday, according to current models.

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