Hurricane forecasters are keeping close watch on a broad low-pressure system in the south-central Atlantic Ocean that appears likely to develop into the season's first tropical storm.
Moving west-northwestward, the system is still thousands of miles from the United States, but forecasters say it is in an environment favorable for further development.
The National Hurricane Center said this morning the system has about a 60 percent chance of developing into a tropical storm.
It would be called Alex.
Most experts have predicted a busier-than-normal hurricane system, with as many 18 named storms in the Atlantic basin, which includes the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico.
The predictions are based in part on warm sea-surface temperatures and the end of an El Nino, the movement of warm surface water into the eastern Pacific Ocean, creating upper atmospheric storms that can thwart hurricane development in the Atlantic basin.
Hurricane season officially began June 1 and runs until Nov. 30.
Tropical storms are unusual in June but not rare.