The National Hurricane Center is tracking the 11th tropical depression to form this season in the Atlantic basin. The 2009 hurricane season officially ends at the end of this month.
The new storm, designated Tropical Depression 11, got its act together Tuesday in the southwestern Caribbean, and now threatens the Nicaraguan coast and offshore islands with torrential rains and 35-mph winds. It may well become the season's ninth tropical storm - Ida - later today.
UPDATE: 4 p.m. TD 11 became Tropical Storm Ida this afternoon. Top sustained winds are at 60-mph, with higher gusts. Some further intensification is likely before landfall in Nicaragua. Rainfall as high as 20 or 25 inches are possible in some locations, raising the danger of flooding and mudslides.
Forecasters think the storm will weaken as it goes ashore, and crosses over portions of Nicaragua and Honduras. But it is expected to head north, move back over the northwest Caribbean and regain tropical storm strength as it heads into the Gulf of Mexico next week. One computer model even has it reaching hurricane strength.
TD 11 was located this morning about 125 miles east southeast of Bluefields, a former buccaneer hideout on the Caribbean coast of Nicaragua. It was moving toward the northwest at about 8 mph.