The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Tropical Depression 29 emerged Saturday afternoon about 315 miles (510 kilometers) southeast of Kingston, Jamaica.
Forecasters said hurricane or tropical storm watches will likely be required for portions of both of those countries in the coming hours. The depression is moving to the west at close to 15 mph (24 kph). On the forecast track, the center of the storm is expected to be near the northeast coast of Nicaragua by Monday night.
The storm has top sustained winds near 35 mph (55 kph) with higher gusts and is expected to dump heavy rains across parts of Jamaica and Central America, raising the risk of flash flooding and river flooding.
Forecasters said that if the depression becomes a named storm as expected, it would be named Eta as the 28th named Atlantic storm this season — tying the 2005 record for named storms.
However, this is the first time the Greek letter Eta would be used as a storm name because in 2005, after the season ended, meteorologists went back and determined there was a storm that should have gotten a name, but didn’t.
Hurricane season still has a month to go, ending Nov. 30.