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Tropical depression forms in the gulf

A mass of thunderstorms and clouds in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico was upgraded to a tropical depression late Thursday and shows signs of strengthening into a tropical storm today.

The system showed sustained winds of 35 mph late Thursday as it moved northwest at about 7 mph, said Al Sandrik, satellite meteorologist with the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

At 11 p.m. Thursday the center of the storm was at latitude 21 degrees north and longitude 92 degrees, some 475 miles southeast of Brownsville, Texas.

"It seems to be organizing a bit," said Sandrik, "If it continues to organize, it could become a tropical storm. But the key word is could."

He said signs are favorable for continued strengthening.

It is the second tropical depression in the gulf this year. The first formed during the Memorial Day weekend but broke up in the west Atlantic.

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