• Tropical Depression Nine has formed in the Caribbean Sea
  • The depression should soon become a tropical storm.
  • It could become a hurricane threat for Florida and the eastern Gulf of Mexico.
  • Interests in those areas should have their hurricane safety plans ready to go.

Tropical Depression Nine has formed in the Caribbean Sea and may become a hurricane threat for the western Caribbean and Southeast U.S. next week, including Florida.

T​his latest system is in addition to Hurricane Fiona in the western Atlantic and Tropical Storm Gaston in the central Atlantic.

W​e are still in the very early stage of tracking this latest system. There are aspects of the forecast in which we have more confidence, while others remain uncertain, which is typical for tropical forecasting this far out in time.

H​ere’s a look at everything we know right now.

L​atest Status

T​ropical Depression Nine is located in the central Caribbean Sea and is moving west-northwest.

I​t’s still battling wind shear, but finally became organized enough to be deemed a tropical depression on Friday morning.

Heavy rain is the main threat from this system right now in Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao. Flash flooding and mudslides are possible in these areas.

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Satellite And Location

(The icon shows the location of the system’s center.)

Forecast Track, Intensity

T​he tropical depression is forecast to become a tropical storm later today.

I​t would be named either Hermine or Ian depending on if it or another system in the eastern Atlantic becomes a tropical storm first.

T​his future tropical storm is forecast by the National Hurricane Center to become a hurricane in the northwest Caribbean by late this weekend or early next week. It could then be located anywhere from the eastern Gulf of Mexico to near the Florida Peninsula as a hurricane by next Tuesday or Wednesday.

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Projected Path And Latest Storm Information

(The red-shaded area denotes the potential path of the center of the tropical cyclone. It’s important to note that impacts (particularly heavy rain, high surf, coastal flooding, winds) with any tropical cyclone usually spread beyond its forecast path.

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Lower wind shear and an ample supply of warm, deep water in the Caribbean Sea are factors expected to contribute to the system’s strengthening in the coming days.

L​and interaction with Cuba could be a hindering factor to its development before any potential approach to the eastern Gulf of Mexico or Florida early next week.

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Ocean Heat Content

(This map shows areas of deep, warm water color-coded according to the legend. All other factors equal, deep, warm water helps fuel intensification of tropical storms and hurricanes. )

Caribbean Threats

A​s mentioned earlier, Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao are facing a threat of heavy rain right now.

I​nterests in Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and Cuba should monitor the forecast for this system closely.

F​looding rain could at least be a concern in these areas starting this weekend. Tropical storm or even hurricane conditions could also occur depending on the exact track and strength of this system.

W​hat Is The U.S. Threat?

Unlike what we’ve seen with hurricanes Earl and Fiona, this system’s forecast steering winds make it a significant threat to the mainland U.S. next week.

T​he majority of computer forecast models curl the system to a location somewhere from the eastern Gulf of Mexico to near Florida or even off Florida’s Atlantic coast by early to mid next week. It could be at hurricane strength as it tracks near these areas.

The bottom line is that it’s far too soon to determine exactly what impacts this system might bring to Florida or any other parts of the Southeast next week. The timing of that approach could begin as soon as Tuesday near far South Florida and the spread northward from there through midweek.

F​or now, all interests near and along the Gulf and Southeast U.S. coasts, including Florida, should monitor the forecast and make sure hurricane plans are in place, in case they are needed.

C​heck back with us at weather.com for the very latest on this developing situation.

More from weather.com:

12 Things You May Not Know About Your Hurricane Forecast

7 Things Florida Newcomers Should Know About Hurricane Season

T​he Florida Peninsula’s Luck Since Hurricane Irma Won’t Last

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

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