Some strengthening is forecast during the next several days, and the depression is expected to become a tropical storm later today.
An area of disturbed weather in the western Caribbean developed into Tropical Depression 14 early Sunday morning.
The center warned of potential "storm surge, rainfall, and wind impacts" in the northern Gulf Coast by mid-week, "although it is too soon to specify the exact location and magnitude of these impacts".
A tropical storm warning was in effect for the provinces of Pinar del Rio and the Isle of Youth in Cuba, and the Mexican coast from Tulum to Cabo Catoche.
With satellite data showing maximum sustained wind speeds of 40 miles per hour, the National Hurricane Center upgraded what had formerly been called Tropical Depression 14 to tropical storm status early Sunday afternoon.
Through Monday morning, the storm is set to lash the eastern Yucatan Peninsula and western Cuba, which were under tropical storm warnings, with heavy rain and gusty winds. Major impacts could start midweek - depending on the storms track, the release says.
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Wind: tropical storm conditions are expected to first reach the coast within the warning area by tonight, making outside preparations hard or unsafe.
Forecast models are showing that the low will drift into the Gulf of Mexico by Monday, and there it is expected to strengthen as it drifts north then turns northeast.
The forecast path for Tropical Depression 14 as of Sunday morning, October 7. The declaration would free up resources for storm preparation.
National Weather Service The recently upgraded tropical storm is forecast to become a hurricane before making landfall along Florida's Panhandle. So far, it is forecast to make landfall somewhere between the MS coast and the Big Bend in Florida. Tuesday and Wednesday's forecasts will be highly dependent on the track. Isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches are possible in western Cuba.
Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 275 miles from the center.
Every tropical system is different, and the time for the biggest changes will come in the early life of the storm, right now.