MIAMI (Reuters) - Tropical Storm Rina formed in the western Caribbean Sea on Sunday and put Honduras on alert for severe weather in the next few days, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.
The swirling mass of thunderstorms was centered about 125 miles northeast of Cabo Gracias a Dios on the border of Nicaragua and Honduras and had top sustained winds of 40 miles per hour (65 km per hour), the forecasters said. It was moving toward the north-northwest at 7 mph (11km/h).
"A turn toward the northwest and then the west-northwest is expected on Monday and the center of the (storm) is expected to pass north of the northeastern coast of Honduras during the next couple of days," the hurricane center forecasters said.
Honduras was under a tropical storm watch from Punta Castilla to the Nicaraguan border, meaning residents should expect heavy rains and strong winds within 48 hours.
The projected path sees the storm strengthen to a hurricane as it moves over Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula by Friday.
Long-range computer forecasting models varied widely on its eventual path and it was too early to tell whether it would threaten energy interests in the Gulf of Mexico.
Some computer models took it into the southeastern Gulf of Mexico, clipping Cuba or Florida. Others took it across Central America into the Pacific.
Forecasters were also keeping watch on a broad low-pressure area in the Atlantic Ocean about two hundred miles east of the Windward Islands.
That disturbance was moving slowly west-northwest toward the Caribbean and forecasters gave it only a 10 percent chance of developing into a tropical cyclone in the next two days.
(Reporting by Jane Sutton in Miami and Patrick Rucker in Mexico City, editing by Chris Wilson)