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Tropical disturbance could intensify, head toward Gulf

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) -- A tropical storm that has dumped heavy rain on parts of the Caribbean has a medium chance of forming into a much stronger storm and could head into the oil-tainted Gulf of Mexico by next week.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center said there was a 30 percent chance that the storm, now moving in a northwesterly direction, would develop further. It was too early to predict whether it would intensify or reach areas of the Gulf Coast, but even a tropical depression could cause significant disruption to oil-affected areas.

High winds and seas could distribute the oil -- still gushing from a blown deepwater well -- over a wider area and storm surges could wash more oil ashore, according to a fact sheet prepared by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

"It's incredibly disorganized," said National Hurricane Center spokesman Dennis Feltgen. He cautioned that the chances of it becoming a hurricane are slim.