Update 5 a.m.: Tropical depression four was expected to strengthen into a storm by this morning, but hurricane center forecasters said there is now limited tie for organization to occur before it hits mainland Mexico.
At 5 a.m., the storm still had winds of 35 mph, just shy of tropical storm strength, and was heading west at 7 mph about 70 miles east of Veracruz.
“Some slight strengthening is forecast, and the depression could become a tropical storm before it makes landfall in Mexico later today,” forecasters noted.
If it becomes a named storm, it would be Danielle. It would be the earliest fourth named storm on record.
The system is entering an area of lighter wind shear, increasing the chances that it could pop up to tropical storm strength, but time is running out for it to make history.
Update 8 p.m.: National Hurricane Center forecasters expect a tropical depression off the east coast of Mexico to become a tropical storm later tonight or early Monday, making it the earliest fourth named storm on record.
The system, which would be named Danielle, has 35 mph winds and is heading west at 8 mph into mainland Mexico. Its minimum central pressure is 1009 mb.
While the storm should be short lived, it is expected to send six to 10 inches of rain with up to 15 inches possible in some areas of the Mexican states of Veracruz, Tamaulipas, San Luis Potosi, Queretaro, Hidalgo and northern Puebla.
Meteorologists are warning of life-threatening flash floods and mud slides.
Update, 5:20 p.m.: Tropical Depression Four has formed, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Tropical storm warnings have been issued near Veracruz, Mexico, stretching between Laguna Verde and Rio Panuco.
Currently, the depression has sustained winds of 35 mph, and is heading west at 8 mph.
If the depression becomes a tropical storm, it would take the name Danielle. Its track, whether it takes on storm characteristics or not, appears to be short-lived.
Update 1:40 p.m. A cluster of thunderstorms near the Yucatan Peninsula was given an 80 percent chance of developing into a tropical cyclone by the National Hurricane Center this afternoon.
A U.S. Air Force Hurricane Hunter is on its way to investigate the system, which would be named Danielle if it becomes a tropical storm.
Forecasters said the system has become better defined today although thunderstorms are still not well organized.
Regardless of whether a tropical system develops, areas of heavy rain are expected over portions of eastern Mexico tonight through Tuesday.
There are concerns that heavy rains could cause flash floods and mud slides.
AccuWeather forecasters said the bulk of any rain with this system will miss Texas, but high waves and rip currents could increase along Gulf beaches.
Previous story: The National Hurricane Center has given a low pressure system off the Yucatan Peninsula a 50 percent chance of developing into a tropical system over the next two to five days.
A U.S. Air Force Hurricane Hunter is scheduled to investigate the cluster of thunderstorms on Sunday if necessary.
Gradual development of the system is expected as it moves west-northwest into an area of marginal upper-level winds.
A tropical depression could form before the system moves inland over eastern Mexico.
While it seems unlikely this system will get a name, it would be Danielle if it gains tropical storm status.