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Hurricane season's first storm could form in Atlantic

What could be the first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season is lingering near the Cape Verde Islands off Africa.

It could become Tropical Storm Ana in the next day or two, but it's too early to gauge whether it could be a threat to Florida.

Forecasters say it's far too early to know exactly what the tropical wave will do or where it will go. The showers and thunderstorms associated with the broad area of low pressure have diminished over the past several hours, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

But experts think conditions could develop the wave into Tropical Storm Ana.

Wind shear tends to prevent storms from forming, so lower wind shear means more favorable conditions for storm development.

Wind shear over the Atlantic is moderate at about 12 mph but is expected to lessen Monday night to about 6 mph, meteorologist Jeff Masters wrote on his blog.

Meanwhile, sea surface temperatures are moderately warm, which could help fuel a storm, Masters points out.

The National Hurricane Center gives the wave a 30 to 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone over the next 48 hours. It's moving west at 10 to 15 mph.

Some computer models project the storm heading north into the Atlantic before moving into the Lesser Antilles Islands, just north of South America.

But, Masters said, it will be at least six days before the storm makes it that far. The National Hurricane Center warns people not to pay too much attention to computer models this early.

"Sometimes this early, models look like a squashed spider with legs going everywhere because there's no center to grab on to," National Hurricane Center meteorologist Dennis Feltgen said. "Remember, this is more than 3,000 miles away. It's not anything to get heartburn over right now."

Meanwhile, a second area of low pressure associated with tropical waves developed later in the day Monday near the coast of South America. Forecasters said development of this wave, if any, could be slow as it moves westward at 10 to 15 mph.


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Hurricane season's first storm could form in Atlantic 08/10/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 11, 2009 11:34am]
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