Fox News Weather Center

Tropical Depression May Form in Gulf of Mexico by Sunday

An area of disturbed weather over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico is being monitored closely for tropical development over the next few days.

According to AccuWeather Meteorologist Rob Miller, "While conditions are somewhat favorable for development in the low levels of the atmosphere, conditions are hostile for development aloft."

Miller is referring to disruptive winds at middle and upper levels of the atmosphere known as wind shear. These westerly winds often cause a developing or established tropical system to lean to the right and can cause dry air to invade the storm's circulation.

"Because of the wind shear, we may see a low-level circulation move westward toward the coast of Mexico and the upper part of the system driven off to the east over time," Miller said.

It is possible that some of that moisture in the form of drenching showers and thunderstorms could be steered over part of Florida and the Bahamas next week.

"Should the system develop a low-level circulation we will be likely be only dealing with a minimal tropical system, such as tropical depression or tropical storm," Miller said.

Even a very weak tropical system can bring torrential rainfall, gusty thunderstorms and rough seas with little notice. As a result, interests around the shoreline of the southwestern Gulf of Mexico should continue to monitor the situation.

Regardless as to whether or not a system develops, unsettled conditions will continue over southern Mexico and part of Central America into next week.

A plume of tropical moisture will continue to hover over southern Mexico and part of Central America for many days.

Daily rainfall rates of 3 to 5 inches are likely in the area from southeastern Mexico to Guatemala and Belize through the weekend.

The rainfall will act as a double-edged sword.

"While the rain can lead to long-term and short-term drought relief, it can also lead to incidents of life-threatening flash flooding and mudslides in the region," Miller said.

The area from the Pacific side of southern Mexico and Central America to the western Caribbean will be areas to watch this weekend and next week respectively as the broad area of disturbed weather and plume of tropical moisture continues to thrive in the region.