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Hurricane Nate? Tropical depression could be next named storm to reach U.S.

MEXICO CITY -- A new tropical depression that could eventually reach the U.S. as a hurricane was developing off of Central America on Wednesday while another system formed off the southern Pacific coast of Mexico.

The tropical depression formed off the Atlantic coast of Central America and the U.S. National Hurricane Center said it was likely to bring heavy rains to that region before a possibly striking the U.S. with hurricane-force strength over the weekend.

If the depression becomes the next Atlantic tropical storm, its name would be Nate.

The storm, known as Tropical Depression 16, had maximum sustained winds of 35 mph and was located about 45 miles west-southwest of San Andres Island in the Caribbean. It was moving toward the northwest at 7 mph. A tropical storm warning was in effect for parts of the Nicaraguan and Honduran coasts.

A map from the National Hurricane Center shows the probable path of a tropical depression that could be the next Atlantic tropical storm. The S stands for tropical storm. The H stands for hurricane. The blue lines show areas under tropical storm warnings.
A map from the National Hurricane Center shows the probable path of a tropical depression that could be the next Atlantic tropical storm. The S stands for tropical storm. The H stands for hurricane. The blue lines show areas under tropical storm warnings. National Hurricane Center

The center said 15 inches to 20 inches of rain were expected across parts of Nicaragua, with strong and possibly dangerous rains also likely in Honduras, Costa Rica and Panama. The storm was projected to cross into the northwestern Caribbean Sea on Friday.

The long-term forecast showed the storm reaching the Gulf Coast by Sunday.

Meanwhile, the hurricane center said Tropical Storm Ramon was expected to move parallel to the Mexican coast over the next day or so, bringing heavy rain to southwestern Mexico, though it wasn't projected to reach hurricane force.

The storm had maximum sustained winds of 45 mph Wednesday and it was centered about 60 miles southwest of Puerto Angel, Mexico. It was moving west-northwest at 7 mph.

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