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As Tropical Depression 2 weakens, tropical wave gets stronger

Tropical Depression 2 has weakened so significantly in its slow westward jog that it may be downgraded to a remnant low pressure area by the end of today.

That shifts further attention to a larger, more impressive tropical wave and associated low-pressure system becoming better organized and chasing it down in the eastern Atlantic Ocean.

The depression, which has maximum sustained winds of just 25 mph, was forecast to reach tropical storm strength (39 mph) by now but is no longer bearing significant storms or rains. It is expected to increase its forward speed of 12 knots and pass northeast of Puerto Rico by Tuesday morning.

Immediately behind the depression, about 300 miles southeast of the Cape Verde Islands, is a tropical wave that might have a chance to become Tropical Depression 3 and eventually the first named tropical storm of the season. The system, moving west at 15 mph, displayed increased thunderstorm and shower activity overnight and is highly likely to become TD3 within 48 hours, according to a mid-afternoon NHC bulletin.

"It's still broad enough that it's not particularly well-organized," said Dr. Jack Beven, senior hurricane specialist for the National Hurricane Center. "But the chances of it becoming a tropical depression or tropical storm are fairly high, about 30 to 50 percent."

It would be named Ana.

Beven said one computer model suggests that TD2 will be caught and consumed by the tropical wave, but several others project it to pull away as the wave encounters a strong area of high pressure. Don't worry about the "perfect storm" scenario.

"Usually one system destroys the other," he said. "There are several different possibilities. It's possible the bigger wave to the east could try to swallow [TD2], although most of the guidance says that won't happen."

Beven said it is too early to tell whether the systems would affect Florida, even as significant rainmakers.

As Tropical Depression 2 weakens, tropical wave gets stronger 08/13/09 [Last modified: Thursday, August 13, 2009 1:55pm]
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