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Second tropical storm forms in Atlantic

The season's second named storm has formed over the Atlantic behind Tropical Storm Ana, and both are expected to slowly strengthen over the next couple of days.

The National Hurricane Center said Saturday that the second storm, Bill, had maximum sustained winds near 40 mph.

Conditions are favorable for the system to strengthen and possibly become a hurricane within three days, said Mike Clay, a meteorologist with Bay News 9.

"It's not a time to get too excited about it, but it is hurricane season so it's a reminder," he said. "We've got days and days to watch this."

At 11 p.m. Saturday, Tropical Storm Bill was about 905 miles west-southwest of the Cape Verde Islands, according to the National Hurricane Center.

One computer model shows it becoming a major hurricane, with a forecast path similar to Tropical Storm Ana. Bill is currently much larger than Ana and is moving at a steady pace, forecasters said.

It could become a threat to the Bahamas, Caribbean Islands and possibly Florida in the long-term forecast, Clay said.

Clay said he's a little concerned that the computer models, which run every six hours, have had trouble processing the two storms.

He said it's likely because they're so close together and still developing. It could take a day or two for the models to work everything out, he said.

"You have to respect the fact that it's forming in an area where some of the bigger hurricanes of the past have formed," Clay said of Tropical Storm Bill.

The most important thing over the next few days will be to monitor whether the storms turn west and have a chance of making it to the Gulf of Mexico.

Tropical Storm Ana, the first named storm of the Atlantic season, had winds of near 40 mph at 11 p.m. The Hurricane Center says residents in the Leeward Islands, Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico should monitor Ana's progress.

Ana is forecast to stay a tropical storm, Clay said, and is a much smaller system than the one behind it. However, he said, it does have well-defined circulation.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Guillermo is still swirling in the open Pacific as a Category 3 storm with winds near 115 mph. Guillermo is expected to weaken as it heads over cooler waters.

Second tropical storm forms in Atlantic 08/15/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, August 18, 2009 5:00pm]
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