NEW YORK (Reuters) - A tropical wave in the Atlantic Ocean strengthened into Tropical Depression 6 late Friday and further strengthening was likely, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in its latest advisory.
At about 5 p.m. EDT, TD6 was located about 180 miles (295 km) east-southeast of the Windward Islands, moving west at 16 mph with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph.
The NHC expects further strengthening in the next 24 hours and said TD6 could become Tropical Storm Felix, the Atlantic hurricane season’s sixth named storm, on Saturday.
A tropical depression becomes a named tropical storm when wind speed climbs to 39 mph or greater.
The current forecast track for the system shows it moving across the southern Caribbean, then making landfall on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula by Wednesday afternoon as a minimal Category 1 hurricane with winds of about 85 mph.
Energy traders keep a close eye on storms that form in the Caribbean because they can enter the Gulf of Mexico and disrupt key oil and natural gas producing platforms or refineries located along the U.S. Gulf Coast.
The NHC will issue an intermediate advisory at 8 p.m. followed by the next complete advisory at 11 p.m.