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Tropical Storm Bill could form soon in Gulf of Mexico

A low-pressure system in the Gulf of Mexico is likely to become Tropical Storm Bill this week.
A low-pressure system in the Gulf of Mexico is likely to become Tropical Storm Bill this week. (National Hurricane Center)

The first tropical storm of the young hurricane season (but the second of the year) is likely to form within the next day or two in the Gulf of Mexico.

The National Hurricane Center estimates a 90 percent chance that a system of storms off the Texas and Louisiana coasts will organize to become Tropical Storm Bill in the next 48 hours:

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"An Air Force Reserve Unit Hurricane Hunter aircraft investigated the broad area of low pressure in the Gulf of Mexico this morning, and found that the circulation was too poorly defined to qualify the system as a tropical cyclone," hurricane forecasters wrote.

"However, thunderstorm activity continues to become better organized this afternoon, and the low will very likely become a tropical storm this afternoon or this evening as it continues moving to the northwest."

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Regardless of when or whether a tropical cyclone forms, the system is expected to bring more heavy rain to already-soaked eastern Texas.

The Atlantic hurricane season began June 1, but technically got off to an early start when Tropical Storm Ana moved up the East Coast in early May.

The second named storm of the season doesn't typically arrive until Aug. 1, according to hurricane center climatology data.

Still, forecasters expected a subdued hurricane season because of the presence of El Niño, which tends to inhibit cyclone formation.

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