CNN Wire Staff
Downtrodden Gulf Coast residents may soon have something besides the oil spill to worry about. But it's not really a "new" threat - it's what they fret about every summer: tropical weather.
There is a 70 percent chance that a weather system in the western Caribbean will better organize and form at least a tropical depression in the next 48 hours, the National Hurricane Center said Friday morning.
The tropical disturbance's rains have become more concentrated, surface air pressure is dropping and upper-level winds are becoming more conducive to storm development, said the hurricane center. An Air Force "hurricane hunter" plane is scheduled to head into the system Friday afternoon to determine if it has evolved into a tropical cyclone, with closed circulation around a center of low pressure.
Some forecasting models show that by early next week the system could head into the Gulf of Mexico, where it could disrupt the oil cleanup operations. Adm. Thad Allen, who's heading the federal cleanup operation, said on CNN's "American Morning" he'll have to redeploy people and equipment to safer areas 120 hours (five days) in advance of gale-force winds (at least 32 mph).
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