A tropical storm watch is in effect from west of High Island to San Luis Pass, Texas.
Now located about 265 miles (430 km) south of Morgan City, Louisiana, the weather system is expected to approach the southwest Louisiana coast late on Wednesday and move inland over western Louisiana and eastern Texas on Thursday, the hurricane center said.
The tropical storm warning means tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere in the warning area in the next 24 to 36 hours.
If the weather system reaches tropical storm criteria, it will be named Cindy.
So far, "Potential Tropical Cyclone Three" has winds of 40 miles per hour, but Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft were unable to find a well-defined center of circulation, which keeps it from being a named storm.
Bands of heavy rain are coming through as far east as the Florida Panhandle.
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A tropical storm watch is in place for Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao.
Heavy rains and rough surf will hit the three nearby countries in the coming days before the storm system fizzles. It is forecast to then move inland over western Louisiana and eastern Texas on Thursday.
Most areas will get four to eight inches of rain through Friday, but some areas could see even high totals. According to an outline of the new changes, the old National Weather Service (NWS) policy did not allow hurricane or tropical storm watches or warnings until after a tropical cyclone had formed.
This is a classic rainmaker tropical system, with a large area of rain surrounding a poorly organized low pressure center. If and when that center develops, the storm will be named Tropical Storm Cindy.
With tropical storm force winds extending about 205 miles, the system has churned up messy weather along its northward track.
Storm surges are expected of 1 to 3 feet above ground level and possible tornadoes from south-central Louisiana to the western Florida Panhandle.