The National Hurricane Center was tracking a storm system east of Central America that forecasters said had a good chance of developing into a cyclone.
As of Tuesday night, the large area of low pressure casting clouds over Panama and Costa Rica, named Invest 90-L, had a 40 percent chance of growing into a tropical depression over the next two days and a 60 percent chance over the next five days.
It will likely continue hugging Central America, moving north to northwest toward the Gulf of Mexico, which it could enter by the weekend, forecasters said. Conditions along the way are favorable to strengthening.
It was too early to say with any degree of certainty how that storm could impact the U.S., said 10Weather WTSP meteorologist Bobby Deskins Tuesday, but models suggest it could hit anywhere from New Orleans to Panama City as a tropical storm. Its name would be Nate.
Another tropical storm system was resting between Cuba and the Bahamas, but only had a 10 percent chance of development. Even so, the NHC said, it will bring heavy rain and strong winds to portions of the Bahamas and Florida as it moves west toward the Gulf.
"That is going to bring an end to this drier air that we've had, and it's going to bring back some heavier downpours Thursday and Friday," Deskins said for the Tampa Bay region.