The above image shows Tropical Depression 5 over the central and eastern portions of the Gulf of Mexico this morning. The system was deemed a depression by the National Hurricane Center yesterday evening. The system is currently centered about 185 miles South of Apalachicola, Florida, and is drifting toward the Northwest at 12 mph. Maximum sustained winds are about 30 mph.
The system remains rather disorganized so far this morning, however conditions will become more favorable for at least gradual strengthening later today and Thursday. For one, the system will be traversing very warm water in place over the Gulf for the next 24-36 hours. The current forecast calls for the system to strengthen at least to Tropical Storm force before making landfall.
The system is currently forecast to make landfall somewhere just East of New Orleans late Thursday night/early Friday morning. If a tropical storm as forecast, and assuming nothing else forms in the Atlantic in the meantime, it will be called "Danielle".
Residents along the northern Gulf Coast should remain alert over the next 24-36 hours and closely monitor the progress of this system.