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National Hurricane Center watches tropical activity in northwest Caribbean
An area of low pressure centered between Belize and the Cayman Islands in the northwest Caribbean Sea became less organized on Monday, but the U.S. National Hurricane Center said further development of the system was still possible during the next couple of days.

An Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft, previously scheduled to investigate the system later Monday, was now expected to look at the system on Tuesday if necessary, the NHC said in a tropical weather update.

Visible satellite imagery and surface observations indicated that low-level circulation was broad and not well-defined.

Forecaster Planalytics said though a storm may take shape this week in the Caribbean, it will not pose a threat to energy production in the Gulf of Mexico.

"During the later half of this week, an upper level low pressure trough, the one responsible for bringing the return of fall-like temperatures to the Consuming East, will create a strong west to northwesterly flow of winds aloft over the Gulf and will effectively prevent the Caribbean storm from nearing or threatening the energy production region," Planalytics senior energy meteorologist Jim Rouiller said in a weather update.

Several weather models showed the system moving north before three models showed it turning west across Mexico and one showed it turning east, crossing between Cuba and southern Florida before moving out in the Atlantic.

Elsewhere, the NHC said tropical cyclone formation was not expected during the next 24 hours.

The energy market watches for tropical storms in the Gulf because they can disrupt U.S. oil and natural gas production and refining there.

Commodities traders also track tropical storms because they can damage citrus crops in Florida and such crops as cotton along the Gulf Coast.

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