HOUSTON -

A tropical disturbance has an 80 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression in the Gulf of Mexico.

According to the National Hurricane Center, a broad area of low pressure near the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico is producing a large area of thunderstorms from the Yucatan Peninsula northeastward across western Cuba and up to southern Florida.

Forecasters said upper level winds are expected to become conducive for tropical development as the system moves into the central Gulf of Mexico.

"Today there's been a lot more convection in the northern Gulf," KPRC Local 2 hurricane expert meteorologist Bill Read said. "The circulation now encompasses almost the entire Gulf of Mexico. Until the center of the low moves a little farther offshore, it's probably not going to evolve very fast, as far as a tropical storm."

Most forecasting models predict that the disturbance will move slowly to the north for the next two days. After that, some models predict that it will head toward Florida while others predict it will go toward Mexico.

Some non-essential employees on oil platforms near the disturbance have been evacuated as a precaution.

If the system becomes a named storm, it would be called Debby.

There will be a benefit for surfers over the weekend with higher waves in Galveston.

For more insight into the possible tropical trouble, visit Anthony's Weather Blog.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Chris was downgraded to a tropical storm and continues to be no threat to land as it spins in the far Atlantic.

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