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A looming system near the Gulf of Mexico could soon become a tropical depression

National Weather Service

What once was Hurricane Agatha in the Pacific could reform into a tropical depression as early as Thursday and dump heavy rain over a large swath of the state by the weekend.

Forecasters with the National Hurricane Center say the large area of low pressure was located near the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula and the southeastern Gulf of Mexico.

It is forecast to move slowly northeastward over the northwestern Caribbean into Friday, and has an 80 percent chance of developing into a named storm before the weekend.

Megan Borowski, meteorologist with the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network, said portions of the greater Tampa Bay region can expect stormy conditions this weekend.

"The remnants of the Pacific Hurricane Agatha are near the Yucatan Peninsula and will likely become a tropical depression later [Thursday] or [Friday]," Borowski said. "Right now, it looks like it won't organize or strengthen too much, but periods of heavy rain will be likely over the Caribbean and portions of Central and South Florida on Friday and Saturday."

If it does strengthen into a tropical storm, it would be called Alex.

The Tampa Bay region can expect another round of afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms on Thursday, with rain chances picking up Friday and into the weekend ahead of the system's approach.

Forecasters are also monitoring a weak area of low pressure east of the Bahamas that Borowski said has "a very low chance of developing. Even if it does it'll move eastward and pose no threat to the U.S."

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Carl Lisciandrello is digital news editor of WUSF Public Media.