MIAMI – Tropical Storm Gamma — the 24th storm of the busiest hurricane season on record — formed on Friday off the coast of Central America, and forecasters said it could threaten Florida by the beginning of next week, perhaps as a hurricane.
Tropical storm warnings were issued for the coast of Belize and the Bay Islands of Honduras. Mexico issued a tropical storm watch for the eastern Yucatan Peninsula, which was hit hard in October by Hurricane Wilma. Six to 15 inches of rain were possible.
The long-term track from the National Hurricane Center indicated that Gamma may take a path similar to Wilma's and head northeast toward the Florida Peninsula. Wilma sliced across the southern portion of the state Oct. 24, causing widespread power outages and more than 20 deaths.
At 4 p.m. EST, Gamma had winds of 40 mph and was about 40 miles north of Limon, Honduras, moving erratically toward the northwest at about 5 mph.
There have been so many storms this year that forecasters exhausted the alphabetical list of names and began naming storms after letters of the Greek alphabet.