A tropical cyclone will likely develop from a wave of storms rolling toward the Caribbean later today, National Hurricane Center forecasters said early Thursday.
Located about 550 miles east of the Lesser Antilles, the system became better organized overnight with more telltale swirling circulation. It will likely encounter weaker winds and warmer waters, allowing it to gain intensity throughout the day as it rolls west at 15 mph.
The storm is not expected to threaten Florida as it churns south of Hispaniola and Cuba.
But regardless of whether a cyclone appears, heavy rain and gusty winds are expected across parts of the islands today, forecasters said. A hurricane hunter plane will investigate the system later today.
Meanwhile, a second wave more likely to threaten Florida also became better formed. Overnight, the system continued to take shape and will likely keep building steam over the next couple of days.
However, as it nears the Leeward Islands over the weekend, it’s expected to face stronger wind shear that could shred it. Forecasters gave the wave a 50 percent chance of becoming a depression or tropical storm over the next two days and a 60 percent chance over five days.
Forecasters are also watching a third wave rolling off Africa’s west coast, which they say could also become a cyclone as it heads west about 15 mph.
Having three storms on their radar is not unusual for forecasters at this time of year when the Atlantic basin typically produces its highest number of hurricanes. Mid August usually marks the beginning of the uptick, with storms historically peaking on Sept. 10.
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