MIAMI -- A tropical depression put parts of Mexico's Gulf Coast under a storm watch Wednesday, while Tropical Storm Karen strengthened to near hurricane status in the open Atlantic Ocean.
The 13th depression of the season could strengthen into a named storm over the next day in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico, according to forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
At 10 p.m., its center was about 210 miles east-southeast of Tampico, Mexico, and about 170 miles east of Tuxpan, Mexico.
The Mexican government issued a tropical storm watch from Palma Sola to La Cruz, the Hurricane Center said.
A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions, with winds of 39 mph to 73 mph, are possible within the next 36 hours.
The depression was moving west at near 3 mph and was expected head west-southwest over the next 24 hours. Top sustained winds were near 35 mph.
Meanwhile, Karen was centered about 1,170 miles east of the Windward Islands, with top sustained winds near 70 mph, forecasters said. It was just 4 mph shy of being upgraded to a hurricane but posed no immediate threat to land.
It was moving west-northwest at near 13 mph. Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward as far as 205 miles from the center.
On the Net:
National Hurricane Center: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov