Tropical Storm Danny slowed slightly Wednesday as its winds gained strength and extended their reach.
At 5 p.m., forecasters with the National Hurricane Center said the storm, located about 1,300 miles east of the lesser Antilles, could become a hurricane by Friday. Sustained winds have reached 50 mph while tropical storm force winds extend 70 miles.
Moving west about 10 mph, Danny will likely strengthen over the next two to three days, but could lose steam as it approaches the Lesser Antilles, forecasters said.
Their five-day forecast shows Danny arriving in the islands Monday as a tropical storm.
On average, the fourth storm of the Atlantic season forms on Aug. 23, said NHC spokesman and meteorologist Dennis Feltgen.
“We’re going into the peak of the season, so we’re right on target,” he said.
So far, the 2015 season has produced just three tropical storms, Ana, Bill and Claudette. Pre-season forecasts predicted fewer storms than average with just six to 11 named storms, three to six hurricanes and up to two major storms. Earlier this month, hurricane center meteorologists scaled back that forecast to six to 10 named storms, one to four hurricanes and up to one major storm.
The slow season is being steered by a fierce, record-breaking El Niño heating waters in the Pacific and fueling upper-level winds that keep storms from strengthening.