The ninth tropical depression of the Atlantic hurricane season has formed in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico, but effects will be far-reaching as the system moves slowly eastward.
The system is forecast to gather some strength Wednesday, becoming a tropical storm, before moving eastward across Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula Wednesday night into Friday morning.
The next name on the list of tropical storms and hurricanes for the 2014 Atlantic season is Hanna.
Dangerous surf and rough seas will focus over the southwestern Gulf of Mexico into Thursday.
Areas of heavy rainfall and the risk of flash flooding will continue to reach far away from the center of the tropical system through Thursday and beyond.
The combination of a large zone of tropical moisture, a stalled front and Tropical Depression 9 will cause a broad area of drenching showers and thunderstorms from southeastern Mexico to western Cuba, South Florida and the Bahamas through the end of the week. A few waterspouts are also possible.
The encounter with the Yucatan Peninsula will cause the system to weaken but may not mark the end of its life cycle.
According to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski, "After losing strength over the Yucatan Peninsula, the system will move back over warm waters in the northwestern Caribbean where a new round of strengthening is possible later Friday into the weekend."
The tropical activity should have residents and vacationers on alert over the southwestern part of the Atlantic basin.
"All interests in the northwestern Caribbean, the Bahamas and Bermuda should closely monitor the movement of this tropical cyclone during the next few days," Kottlowski said.
A full-blown hurricane is not necessary to cause dangerous surf and seas, as well as life-threatening flash flooding and mudslides.
The situation over the southwestern Atlantic basin may get rather complex later this weekend into next week.
While the encounter with the Yucatan Peninsula may bring the perception of a quick end to tropical concerns, renewed tropical formation is possible this weekend and beyond in the southwestern part of the Atlantic basin.
One scenario brings the entire system northeastward across Cuba, the Bahamas then out to sea in the Atlantic by Sunday. Gusty, drenching squalls may pass close to Bermuda late in the weekend in this case.
Another scenario does the same but leaves a piece behind in the western Caribbean that may lead to new development next week and a possible threat for Florida.
Because of the potential ongoing threat in the southwestern part of the Atlantic Basin, people from Florida to the northwestern Caribbean should keep an eye on the tropics.
Although the Gulf of Mexico and the northwestern Caribbean have been mostly quiet in terms of tropical development this season, environmental conditions became conducive enough for the depression to develop over the Bay of Campeche. The only system to affect these waters this season prior to Monday has been Tropical Storm Dolly during early September.
Even though it is autumn, the Atlantic hurricane season continues until the end of November. The peak of hurricane activity occurs, on average in mid-September. However, a second peak of tropical activity occurs in October.
According to AccuWeather Meteorologist Brian Edwards, "As we go into the end of October into early November, wind shear increases over the United States and the Atlantic Ocean. This causes development to occur most often over the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean."