MIAMI (AP) _ The southwest coast of Texas and part of Mexico remained under a tropical storm watch early Wednesday as a tropical depression was expected to strengthen over the Gulf of Mexico, forecasters said.
At 5 a.m., the depression was centered 365 miles east-southeast of Brownsville, Texas, and about 380 miles east of La Pesca, Mexico, according to the National Weather Center.
Its maximum sustained wind speeds were near 30 mph, and forecasters said it was expected to strengthen. If its wind speeds reach the 39-mph threshold for a tropical storm, it would be named Erin.
The depression was moving northwest near 10 mph. It was expected to turn west-northwest later Wednesday, and could reach the Texas coastline by Thursday, according to the hurricane center.
A tropical storm watch was issued for Texas coast from Freeport southward. The government of Mexico issued a tropical storm watch for the northwest coast of Mexico from Rio San Fernando northward.
A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible within 36 hours.
Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Dean cruised west over the open Atlantic at about 18 mph, forecasters said.
Dean could reach hurricane strength by Friday as it moved over warm waters where atmospheric conditions were favorable for intensification, forecasters said. Hurricanes sustain winds of at least 74 mph.
However, forecasters warned that it is still too early to tell where Dean will go.
This year's Atlantic hurricane season, which began June 1, is expected to be busier than average. Last week, hurricane forecasters said up to 16 tropical storms are likely to develop, with nine becoming hurricanes. August typically marks the start of the six-month season's most active period.
Here is the 11 a.m. advisory from the National Weather Service
Dean moving quickly westward
Interests in the Lesser Antilles should monitor the progress of Dean.
At 11 a.m. the center of tropical storm dean was located near latitude 12.4 north.longitude 46.0 west or about 1,045 Miles.east of the Lesser Antilles.
Dean is moving toward the west near 20 mph..and this motion is expected to continue for the next 24 hours.
Maximum sustained winds are near 60 mph..with higher gusts. Some strengthening is forecast during the next 24 hours and dean could become a hurricane tomorrow.
Dean is a relatively small tropical cyclone. Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 50 miles...85 km from the center.
The estimated minimum central pressure is 997 mb.29.44 inches.
For more information, you can go to the National Hurricane Center's Web site at http://hurricanes.gov
Forecasters expect this year's hurricane season to be busier than average. Last week they said up to 16 tropical storms are likely to form, with nine of them becoming hurricanes.
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, but August typically marks the start of the most active period. Last year, there were 10 tropical storm in the Atlantic and just two made landfall in the United States.