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Tropical depression strengthens in Gulf of Mexico

  • Story Highlights
  • Tropical Depression 13 forms off Mexico coast
  • Depression could strengthen to tropical storm Wednesday
  • Tropical Storm Karen no threat to land in Atlantic
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MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- A tropical depression in the Gulf of Mexico was nearing tropical storm strength and a storm in the Atlantic neared hurricane strength late Wednesday morning, the U.S. National Hurricane Center reported.

art.tropical13.noaa.jpg

The infrared image of Tropical Depression 13 at 5:15 a.m. ET on Wednesday.

As of 11 a.m. ET, Tropical Depression 13 was centered about 205 miles (330 kilometers) east-southeast of Tampico, Mexico, and about 155 miles (250 kilometers) east of Tuxpan, Mexico. Its top winds were near 35 mph, and it was moving toward the south at near 2 mph.

Sustained winds of 39 mph qualify a system as a tropical storm.

"A slow and erratic motion is expected during the next 24 hours," the National Hurricane Center said.

Projections indicated the depression is likely to strike the Mexican coast by Friday. Should it stay offshore longer than forecast, its sustained winds could reach 50 mph before it makes landfall, NHC senior hurricane specialist Jack Beven said in an online discussion.

An Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft is expected to explore the system Wednesday afternoon.

In the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Karen's winds grew to 70 mph, the hurricane center reported at 11 a.m. ET. A storm is deemed a hurricane at 74 mph.

"Karen could become a hurricane today," the center said.

The storm had formed a "ragged eye," the center said.

Tropical Storm Karen is centered 1,225 miles east of the Windward Islands, so it poses little threat to land. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

All About National Hurricane Center

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