Tropical depression strengthens in southwestern Caribbean

A tropical depression east of Nicaragua near San Andres Island is forecast to intensify over coming days, as the system moves northwestward.

Tropical Depression 16 is expected to bring heavy rainfall and tropical storm conditions to portions of Nicaragua and Honduras through Thursday.

A Tropical Storm Warning has been issued from Sandy Bay Sirpi, Nicaragua, northward to Punta Castilla, Honduras.

The storm path is not projected to hit the Cayman Islands. Tropical storm force winds, however, could affect the islands by Friday.

The National Hurricane Center described the environmental conditions as conducive for intensification over the next 24 to 36 hours.

“Rapid intensification is a possibility over the northwestern Caribbean or southern Gulf of Mexico while the system is traversing rather warm and deep waters, although it remains to be seen how separate the depression becomes from a larger gyre over central America,” read the official forecast as of Wednesday morning.

Residents of the Bay Islands, western Cuba and the Yucatan Peninsula are advised to monitor the progress of the storm.

The system is expected to continue strengthening as it moves over the Gulf of Mexico Friday and through the weekend.

The system may affect areas of the northern Gulf Coast as a hurricane by the weekend. Forecasters have advised, however, that is it still too early to determine timing and intensity.

Residents of the Gulf Coast from Louisiana to Florida should monitor the storm.

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