System 96L looks like an oval-shaped area of clouds in a recent visible satellite image from the GOES-13 satellite. The National Hurricane Center noted that it now has a 50% chance of development into a tropical depression by sometime on Thursday.
GOES-13 is one of a two Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites that monitor weather over the U.S. GOES-13 covers the eastern U.S. and GOES-11 covers the western U.S. Both satellites are managed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. GOES-13 captured a visible image of System 96L on July 7 at 1732 UTC (1:32 p.m. EDT), and its broad area of clouds covered the western Gulf of Mexico, stretching from the Yucatan Peninsula north to the Texas coast.
System 96L is an elongated area of low pressure and is moving west-northwestward at 10 to 15 mph. Its center is near 23.3 North latitude and 93.3 West longitude. Shower and thunderstorm activity has ramped up and is more concentrated about 300 miles east-southeast of the Texas/Mexico border. That increase in showers and thunderstorms is happening near the southern part of the low pressure area.
The National Weather Service said that "Conditions appear conducive for development and a tropical depression could form before the system reaches the coast of northeastern Mexico or southern Texas on Thursday."
Even if System 96L doesn't develop into a tropical depression, it is still forecast to bring locally heavy rains and gusty winds to portions of eastern Texas and northeastern Mexico during the next few days.
Outside of System 96L, tropical cyclone formation is not expected anywhere else in the Atlantic, Caribbean or Gulf of Mexico during the next 48 hours.
Explore further: Satellite catches lingering remnants of Tropical Depression 9