Hurricane experts watching two tropical systems in the Atlantic

Meteorologists and emergency managers are keeping close watch on two tropical systems in the Atlantic Ocean that could end a lull in the hurricane season.

The more likely of the two to develop, a tropical wave midway between Africa and the Lesser Antilles, was moving steadily westward Tuesday at about 15 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Thunderstorms and showers moved with the system, which seemed poised to strengthen gradually in coming days.

Experts predicted the storm had a 30 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone by Thursday. It would be named Ernesto.

The second system, also a tropical wave, was moving west over the central Caribbean and casting storms over several hundred miles. In the next couple of days, the system was expected to hit the southeastern Bahamas with heavy rain and winds. Experts said it was unlikely to develop because of unfavorable wind shear.

These are the first storms in nearly a month to draw the attention of the National Hurricane Center and emergency managers, who got off to an early start as four named storms formed in June alone — the most since the National Hurricane Center began keeping records in 1851.

Marissa Lang can be reached at mlang@tampabay.com or (813) 226-3386.

Hurricane experts watching two tropical systems in the Atlantic 07/31/12 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 31, 2012 9:51pm]

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