Just four days after Hurricane Irma struck the Florida Keys as a fierce Category 4 hurricane, a new tropical depression formed late Thursday over the far east Atlantic.
Located 380 miles south-southwest of the Cabo Verdo Islands, the depression sprung from one of two tropical waves rolling westward. The second wave, located closer to the U.S. coast in the central Atlantic, is expected to become a tropical depression early next week.
Thursday’s depression becomes the 14th of what’s becoming a busy hurricane season and could become Tropical Storm Lee in two days when sustained winds are expected to reach 65 mph.
National Hurricane Center forecasters said in an 11 p.m. advisory Thursday that the system had become better organized, with improved circulation, over the last 12 hours. While it’s running into moderate wind shear that can inhibit a hurricane, warm water over the next two days is expected to help it intensify.
In about five days, the depression is expected to encounter stronger wind shear that could weaken it. The depression is now moving at a quick 22 mph to the west-northwest, but a strong high pressure ridge is expected to slow it over the weekend.
The second wave, about 800 miles southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands, will likely gain steam as it moves into the tropical Atlantic. It could become a depression early next week. The system is 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.
Coming on the heels of Irma, both storms 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.
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