Tropical Storm Nate is poised to blow past of the Peninsula on Saturday.
But let’s not call him Nate just yet. As of Wednesday afternoon, he’s still just “Tropical Depression 16”
The weather system formed just southeast of the Atlantic coast of Nicaragua as of late Wednesday morning, and it may rapidly develop into a tropical storm or hurricane, reports AccuWeather and the National Hurricane Center.
It then threatens the central to northeastern Gulf of Mexico coast this weekend.
The tropical depression may evolve into a tropical storm at any time as it wanders toward the north-northwest and near the Yucatán Peninsula into Friday, forecasters said.
“Any tropical system in this area is likely to drift in a general northward direction, which will take it over the Gulf of Mexico by this weekend,” according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.
“Since the system will be moving over very warm waters, we could quickly have a powerful hurricane on our hands,” Kottlowski said. “There is the potential for a tropical storm or hurricane to make landfall along the Gulf coast from southeastern Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle this weekend.”
People in southeastern Mexico, as well as Nicaragua, Honduras, Belize, the Cayman Islands, western Cuba and the United States’ northern and eastern Gulf coast should stay alert, said AccuWeather.
AccuWeather projects 17 tropical storms, which includes 11 hurricanes, through December 2017 in the Atlantic. Hurricane season officially ends at the end of November.
Including Maria, there have been 13 tropical storms, eight hurricanes and four major hurricanes thus far.