MIAMI — Forecasters say a tropical weather system moving toward the Gulf of Mexico is strengthening.
The National Hurricane Center said Friday that a low pressure system in the northwestern Caribbean Sea has become better defined overnight and could be a tropical depression or storm by Saturday.
The centre put chances of formation at 90% over the next two days.
The system sits east of the Yucatan Peninsula and is moving northward. Forecasters say heavy rains are likely across western Cuba, much of Florida and the northern Gulf Coast into early next week.
Portions of the northern Gulf Coast are likely to experience tropical storm force winds and storm surge. An Air Force Reserve reconnaissance aircraft is scheduled to investigate the weather system Friday.
The tropical threat comes earlier than usual. The six-month hurricane season doesn’t begin until June 1. If it becomes a tropical storm, it would be named Alberto.