reports the tropical system brewing in the Gulf of Mexico has potential to be the next billion-dollar disaster for the U.S., by way of flooding.

Expert opinions on where the developing tropical system will wander over the next week or more vary from meteorologist to meteorologist. However, most of these opinions do not reflect minimal impact scenarios.

Most meteorologists at think this system will become a named storm (tropical storm or hurricane), and there is great potential for torrential rainfall and flooding somewhere along the north-central Gulf Coast.

The consensus among nearly 100 meteorologists at AccuWeather is that this will be an extensive, slow-moving system, capable of affecting the same areas for days with downpours, stormy seas and rough surf conditions. Rough seas alone have potential to shut down rigs in the Gulf for an extended period.

From 10 to 20 inches of rain may fall on part of the north-central Gulf Coast beginning late this week and continuing into next week, and could in itself result in disastrous flooding.