Tropical Depression Forms in Gulf of Mexico on 1st Day of Hurricane Season

MIAMI (AP) -- A tropical depression formed in the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday, the official first day of the Atlantic hurricane season.

The storm had maximum sustained winds of 35 mph (55 kph) and was located about 290 miles (465 kilometers) west-northwest of Fort Myers, Florida, as of late Thursday, the National Hurricane Center said in an advisory. It was heading south at 3 mph (6 kph) and on a forecast path that could take it toward western Cuba.

The center said the depression could strengthen into a tropical storm Thursday night or Friday, but it should begin to weaken by Friday night and degenerate into a remnant low by the following day.

Tropical storms have winds of at least 39 mph (63 kph); anything 74 mph (119 kph) or higher is designated a hurricane.

The hurricane season runs through Nov. 30. Last year's season had 14 named storms, with extensive damage caused by Hurricanes Ian, Nicole and Fiona.