Tropical Storm Alex could strengthen into a hurricane Monday but is heading away from the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the National Hurricane Center said.
The storm could become a major hurricane and could make landfall anywhere from Port Lavaca, Texas to Tampico, Mexico, the center said Monday.
Forecasting models suggest that it could make landfall in northeastern Mexico, probably on Thursday.
The storm appears headed away from the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
Alex could become a Category 3 hurricane, the hurricane center said. Its winds were blowing at 50 miles an hour as of 5 a.m. ET on Monday.
"We will know much more as this storm continues to intensify today and tomorrow," the center said in a statement.
"We think the storm is going to stay on a more southern track. That would be good news because it would avoid the area near the oil spill," said Todd Kimberlain of the National Hurricane Center.
However, forecasters have not ruled out an easterly shift in Alex's path.
"We all know the weather is unpredictable, and we could have a sudden last-minute change," said Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the federal government's response manager.