Tropical Storm Harvey formed Thursday on a path projected to roll through the Caribbean toward Central America — but not threaten South Florida.
At 5 p.m., the National Hurricane Center said Harvey had just reach tropical storm strength, with wind speeds of 40 mile per hours. The Windward Islands covering Martinique, the Grenadines, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and Barbados were under a tropical storm warning.
The storm, moving west at 18 mph, is expected to cross into the Caribbean on Friday. It does not pose a threat to Florida, but forecasters warned the storm could dump between two and four inches of rain over the Windward Islands, triggering dangerous floods and mudslides.
It’s expected to steadily strengthen over the next week, but then weaken once it encounters higher wind shear in the central Caribbean, forecasters said. Models show the storm tracking to the northwest, and reaching the eastern Caribbean over the next day or so.
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Meanwhile, a second wave in the central Atlantic more likely to threaten Florida also became better formed Thursday. In their 2 p.m. advisory, forecasters said over the next day or so, it’s possible this system could also become a cyclone and upped the odds of it forming to 60 percent over the next 48 hours.
The system was located about 1,200 miles east of the Leeward Islands, which it will likely reach by the weekend. As it nears the islands, conditions become less favorable so it’s possible it could weaken again. The system was headed west, northwest at about 20 mph.
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.
Follow Jenny Staletovich on Twitter @jenstaletovich