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A tropical  disturbance has formed in the western Caribbean and Roger Erickson with the National Weather Service in Lake Charles is urging people to be alert.

The storm is already dumping heavy rains on Cuba and the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. While it is still early, Erickson said there is a probability it may be heading this way.

"The forecast for this system is to move northwest and reach the southern Gulf of Mexico by Sunday morning. Where it goes after that is difficult to forecast right now - the steering currents will be weak and the system could literally go in any direction," Erickson said.

The storm is only a tropical wave at this time, but Erickson said the conditions exist for it to strengthen into a tropical depression or possibly even a tropical storm once it enters the Gulf of Mexico.

Gerry Bell, lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, urged Louisiana residents to review their storm plans to make sure everything is in place.

"Though models are far from in agreement at this point, most predict it will aim north or west over the next two or three days, toward Texas or Louisiana," Bell said Saturday afternoon.

If it does come this way, he said it will find a favorable environment, as the wind shear in the gulf is light and the waters warm. If it reaches tropical storm strength, it will be christened "Ana" and become the first named storm of the 2009 Atlantic hurricane season.


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