Tropical depression likely to form in Gulf of Mexico, may bring heavy rainfall, forecasters say

A month into the 2019 Atlantic hurricane season, a tropical threat may be brewing along the Gulf Coast that could bring heavy rain across portions of the Southeast.

The National Hurricane Center said Monday that a disturbance over central Georgia is forecast to move southward toward the northeastern Gulf of Mexico in two or three days, where a "broad area of low pressure" is expected to form.

"Environmental and ocean conditions are forecast to be conducive for development and a tropical depression is likely to form by the end of the week while the low moves slowly westward over northern Gulf of Mexico," the NHC said. "Regardless of development, this system has the potential to produce heavy rainfall along portions of the northern and eastern U.S. Gulf Coast later this week."

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The NHC said as of Monday, there was an 80 percent chance of a tropical depression forming within the next five days.

"Interests along the Gulf Coast from the upper Texas coast and to the western Florida peninsula should monitor the progress of this system," the NHC said.

If it becomes a tropical storm, it will be the second of the season, with the name "Barry."

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The 2019 Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, and this year includes the names: Andrea, Barry, Chantal, Dorian, Erin, Fernand, Gabrielle, Humberto, Imelda, Jerry, Karen, Lorenzo, Melissa, Nestor, Olga, Pablo, Rebekah, Sebastien, Tanya, Van and Wendy.

The list of names for the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season.

The list of names for the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season. (NOAA)

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Forecasters from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are calling for nine to 15 named storms with winds of 39 mph or higher, of which four to eight could strengthen into hurricanes. Of those storms, there will be two to four major hurricanes, which are classified as Category 3, 4 and 5 with winds of 111 mph or higher.

The 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season outlook.

The 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season outlook. (NOAA)

An average hurricane season produces 12 named storms, of which six become hurricanes, including three major hurricanes, according to NOAA.