Tropical Storm Wilma formed Monday in the western Caribbean, tying the record for the most storms in an Atlantic season and following a path that could potentially menace the U.S. Gulf Coast later as a hurricane.
Wilma is the 21st named storm of the season. The only other time that as many storms formed since record keeping began 154 years ago was in 1933.
Wilma had top sustained winds near 40 mph (64 kph), just above the 39-mph (63-kph) threshold for tropical storms. It was centered about 175 miles (280 kilometers) southeast of Grand Cayman and drifting southwest near 3 mph (5 kph).
A hurricane watch was issued for the Cayman Islands, meaning hurricane conditions could be felt there within 36 hours. The depression is expected to bring heavy rain in the Cayman Islands and Jamaica, with as much as 12 inches (30 centimeters) possible in some areas, forecasters said.
Long-term forecasts show the storm heading into the Gulf of Mexico by Thursday or Friday. Forecasters said high water temperatures and other conditions were favorable for it to become a significant hurricane, reports the AP.