That was fast.
Two tropical waves in the central and east Atlantic became better organized overnight Wednesday and by Thursday afternoon looked increasingly likely to become tropical depressions by the weekend and early next week. While the storms remain far from Florida and the U.S. coast, both are expected to encounter more favorable conditions in the coming days.
In their latest advisory, National Hurricane Center forecasters said the system in the central Atlantic, about 800 miles southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands, will likely gain steam as it moves into the tropical Atlantic. It’s now surrounded by moist air and encountering light wind shear. There’s a chance dry air could weaken it, but the steamy tropics could reverse that.
If it forms next week as expected, the system would be named Maria.
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While further east, the second system appears better organized and more likely to form faster. Over the next two days, forecasters gave the system now south of the Cabo Verde Islands a 60 percent chance of forming and possibly becoming Tropical Storm Lee.
Coming on the heels of Irma, the systems serve as a grim reminder that hurricane season is far from over. Irma struck Cudjoe Key Sunday, the statistical peak of the hurricane season. On Wednesday morning, the coast looked clear. But by late Wednesday and early Thursday, forecasters began warning that cyclone conditions were beginning to look more ripe.
Forecasters also continue to watch Tropical Storm Jose, which weakened overnight but will likely regain intensity and become a hurricane again by the weekend. The storm, located 435 miles east-northeast of the southern Bahamas, is expected to turn toward the northwest, but it’s not currently expected to generate any dangerous conditions in the U.S.
Follow Jenny Staletovich on Twitter @jenstaletovich