11Alive Chief Meteorologist Chris Holcomb says Tropical Storm Bret has formed in the southern Caribbean Sea just north of the South American coast, and another tropical system is in the central Gulf of Mexico, which is expected to strengthen into a named tropical storm as soon as Monday night.
The storm system in the central Gulf has prompted the National Hurricane Center to raise tropical storm watches and warnings along the Gulf Coast from the Louisiana-Mississippi border over to Texas.
If it is named on Monday evening, the next tropical system name for the 2017 season is 'Cindy.'
Holcomb said that as of 5 pm Eastern time, the disturbance was centered near latitude 24.7 degrees North, longitude 88.7 degrees West. Maximum sustained winds are near 40 mph with higher gusts. The system is moving toward the north at 9 mph. On the current forecast track, the storm system will move toward the Louisiana coast on Tuesday and Wednesday.
A Tropical Storm Watch has been issued for areas west of Intracoastal City to High Island, Texas. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect from Intracoastal City, Louisiana eastward to the mouth of the Pearl River.
A Tropical Storm Watch is issued when tropical storm conditions are possible in the watch area, generally within 48 hours. A Tropical Storm Warning means tropical storm conditions -- sustained winds of at least 39 mph -- are expected within the warning area within the next 24-to-36 hours.
Persons along the entire US Gulf Coast from the central Texas coastline to the western Florida Panhandle should continue to closely monitor the progress of this storm system.
Tropical Storm Bret is skirting westward along the South American coastline, and will likely fall apart into a post-tropical depression by Wednesday afternoon, according to the National Hurricane Center's projected track.
Right now, it is centered about 125 miles southeast of Trinidad or 225 miles southeast of Grenada, and moving to the west-northwest at 30 mph. Maximum sustained winds for Bret are at 40 mph.
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