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The tropical disturbance in the Caribbean is forecast to strengthen over the weekend

The tropical disturbance near Honduras has an 80 percent change of strengthening into a cyclone in the next two days as it heads toward the Gulf of Mexico, the National Hurricane Center said Saturday morning.
The tropical disturbance near Honduras has an 80 percent change of strengthening into a cyclone in the next two days as it heads toward the Gulf of Mexico, the National Hurricane Center said Saturday morning. National Hurricane Center

The tropical disturbance off the coast of Belize is showing signs or organizing into something more serious as it continues its northward journey toward the Gulf of Mexico, meteorologists said Saturday morning.

In the 2 p.m. update, the National Hurricane Center upgraded the system’s chances of strengthening into a cyclone in the next two days to 80 percent, a jump from Friday’s prediction of 40 percent. A cyclone is either a tropical depression or a tropical storm.

Forecasters are 90 percent confident the system will upgrade into a cyclone in the next five days, likely forming in the northwestern Caribbean Sea or the southern Gulf of Mexico.

It’s moving slowly — about 5 mph — and is expected to bring “torrential” amounts of rain to parts of Central America, the Yucatan peninsula and western Cuba into next week.

Brian McNoldy, a senior research associate at University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School, tweeted landfall appears to be around Wednesday somewhere between central Louisiana and the eastern Florida panhandle.

In October, hurricanes more often form in the Caribbean and head toward Florida and the gulf.

Rising ocean temperatures have fueled some of the most devastating storms in recent years. Kendra Pierre-Louis, a reporter on The New York Time's climate team, explains how.

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