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Worrisome System in Atlantic Has 40 Percent Chance of Becoming Storm

Gulf Coast could be threatened by storm brewing in Atlantic 1:21

The Air Force reconnaissance plane dispatched Tuesday to check out a worrisome weather system over the Atlantic came back with good news — there's no sign of a hurricane growing.

And the chances that what's called a tropical wave will grow into a dangerous storm during the next 48 hours are now just 40 percent, National Hurricane Center spokesman Dennis Feltgen told NBC News.

"The USAF plane did not find any evidence that a tropical cyclone had formed," Feltgen said. "Another USAF plane is scheduled to investigate the system tomorrow."

Image: Tropical Storm Gaston
A NASA satellite image of Tropical Storm Gaston in the Atlantic Ocean on Monday. NASA via AFP - Getty Images file

Earlier, the hurricane center had said the system east of the Leeward Islands had 50-50 chance of growing into a tropical cyclone.

An NHC advisory warned that the system was moving west-northwest at a 15- to 20-mph clip "near the northern Leeward Island and the Greater Antilles."

Even if this storm doesn't become a full-fledged hurricane, the islands in its path could be hit with "gusty winds, heavy rains, and possible flash floods and mud slides."

NBC News meteorologist Bill Karins said that experts were aware of the tropical wave and that weather computer forecasts were already "all over the place."

Some models, Karins said, show a weak system — but others show an all-out hurricane hitting Florida on Sunday night.

The last hurricane to make landfall in the Sunshine State was Wilma on Oct. 24, 2005, which killed six people and caused $20 billion in damage across South Florida.

IMAGE: Patti Laws
Patti Laws in what was the living room of her Dania Beach, Fla., mobile home in October 2005 after Hurricane Wilma moved through. J. Pat Carter / AP file