MEXICO (USA TODAY) - A strengthening tropical system in the Caribbean threatens to slam into Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula and could intensify into a hurricane to deliver another blow to the country's east coast later this week.
The National Hurricane Center said a tropical depression or storm will likely form in the northwestern Caribbean Sea on Monday or Tuesday before it reaches the Yucatan Peninsula.
Areas at risk include the tourist resorts of Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Cozumel.
The United States should not be directly affected by this system, although parts of the Texas Gulf Coast could see high surf and dangerous rip currents later this week, the Weather Channel said.
Tropical storm warnings were issued Sunday for most of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula coast, while a tropical storm watch was issued for portions of Belize.
Up to a foot of rainfall is possible, which "could produce life-threatening flash floods," the hurricane center said.
The system "will spread drenching rain squalls across Central America and the Yucatan Peninsula," AccuWeather said, also warning of "sporadic power outages."
The storm is forecast to move across the Yucatan and into the Bay of Campeche, where it could reach hurricane strength before hitting the eastern coast of Mexico on Wednesday night or Thursday.
One forecast indicates the hurricane could become a Category 3 storm, with winds at least 111 mph, as it nears Mexico's east coast.
Areas from Veracruz to near Tampico could see flooding rain, damaging winds and an inundating storm surge from the system, AccuWeather said.
The tropical storm will be named Franklin once the winds reach 39 mph. It becomes a hurricane when its sustained winds are 74 mph.
A separate tropical system, now spinning in the central Atlantic more than 1,000 miles from the Caribbean, has a 50% chance of developing into a named storm over the next five days, the hurricane center said.
The system may bring rain and wind to the islands of the eastern Caribbean later this week, but it's too soon to forecast beyond that, the Weather Channel said.