Gulf Coast could see 'torrential rain' as tropical system lurks; Bonnie may form in the Caribbean

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A developing tropical system in the Caribbean Sea – one that's already knocked out power to parts of Trinidad and Tobago – continued to race across the region Wednesday as it sets its sights on Central America, where it's forecast to hit as a tropical storm by late Friday.

If the system gets a name, it would be called Tropical Storm Bonnie.

Meanwhile, forecasters warned that another system could bring heavy rain – potentially over a foot – to the U.S. Gulf Coast over the next couple of days.

So far this season, one storm has officially formed in the Atlantic Basin: Tropical Storm Alex, which unleashed flooding rainfall across Cuba, South Florida and the Bahamas in early June.

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Tropical Storm Bonnie could develop in the Caribbean

The Caribbean disturbance was located about 130 miles east-southeast of the Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao on Wednesday morning. It had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph and was moving west at 30 mph, the National Hurricane Center said.

Although winds are currently tropical-storm strength, the system lacks a well-defined center of circulation, which is necessary for classification as a tropical storm.

Still, "tropical storm conditions are expected along the northwestern coast of Venezuela and northeastern Colombia tonight and early Thursday," the hurricane center said.

This includes the chance for flash flooding and mudslides in some areas.

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The forecast track of what's expected to become Tropical Storm Bonnie over the next couple of days.
The forecast track of what's expected to become Tropical Storm Bonnie over the next couple of days.

Gulf system to bring 'torrential downpours' to Texas coast

Meanwhile, in the Gulf of Mexico, another system is taking aim at Texas and could become a short-lived tropical depression near the coast before it moves inland later Wednesday night or Thursday.

"Tropical downpours are expected to overspread much of the western and central Gulf Coast on Thursday," AccuWeather said. "This rain can cause localized flash flooding but bring much-needed drought relief."

As the tropical moisture surges into the coast, it will interact with a stalled front, bringing rounds of torrential downpours. While the heaviest rain is expected on the Texas coast as the rainstorm moves over land Thursday, rainfall will also be possible as far east as Georgia and the Florida Panhandle.

The heaviest rainfall will occur from near Houston to just east of Corpus Christi and northward to College Station, Texas, from Thursday to Friday where 4 to 8 inches is likely, AccuWeather said. Some spots could pick up as much as 16 inches, AccuWeather predicted.

Contributing: The Associated Press; Cheryl McCloud, the Naples Daily News

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Tropical update: Bonnie may form; Texas to get rain from Gulf storm