MIAMI -- A new tropical depression formed in the Gulf of Mexico Friday morning with a predicted path pointed toward the northern Gulf coast over the weekend. At this time, it poses no threat to Florida.
According to the 11 a.m. update from the National Hurricane Center, Tropical Depression 17 has maximum sustained winds of 35 mph and could become a tropical storm Friday afternoon. If so, it would be named Olga.
After strengthening, forecasters predicted the storm could merge with a cold front and become a post-tropical low before it reached the Gulf coast. An Air Force Hurricane Hunter plane is scheduled to investigate the system late Friday afternoon.
"There is a chance that the system could briefly become a tropical storm this afternoon before it merges with the cold front. However, even if this occurs it will make little difference to the impacts on the northern Gulf coast," forecasters wrote.
The system could bring two to four inches of rain to the Central Gulf coast and the Lower Mississippi Valley through Saturday morning, along with above-normal tides, gale-force winds and potentially "a couple tornadoes" in the southeast portions of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
Forecasters said the storm should dissipate after 48 hours.
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