FROM NOAA National Hurricane Center
DISCUSSION AND OUTLOOK
At 200 PM EDT (1800 UTC), the center of Tropical Depression Nine was located near latitude 17.5 North, longitude 79.5 West. The depression is moving toward the northwest near 13 mph (20 km/h), and this general motion should continue over the next few days. On the forecast track, the center of the depression will pass near or over the Cayman Islands tonight, the Isle of Youth and western Cuba Friday, and over the southeastern and central Gulf of Mexico Friday night and Saturday. The system is forecast to approach the U.S. northern Gulf coast on Sunday.
Maximum sustained winds are near 35 mph (55 km/h) with higher gusts. Steady strengthening is forecast during the next few days. The depression is expected to become a tropical storm tonight, and become a hurricane when it is near western Cuba or over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico. Additional strengthening is likely over the Gulf of Mexico, and the system could be near major hurricane strength when it approaches the northern Gulf coast.
The estimated minimum central pressure is 1005 mb (29.68 inches).