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Strong tropical wave in central Caribbean could become Alex

For three weeks, we've enjoyed a quiet start to the above-average hurricane season forecasters predicted.

Looks like trouble is finally brewing.

The Atlantic basin's first tropical depression could form in the central Caribbean in the next few days, the National Hurricane Center said.

There is a 20 percent chance of the strong tropical wave becoming a tropical cyclone by Thursday, NHC forecasters said Tuesday afternoon. (Current tracking map.)

The wave became less organized throughout Tuesday. Still, forecasters cautioned that conditions remain favorable for a more powerful storm to form over the next week.

The wave already is creating widespread showers and gusty thunderstorms in Haiti, Puerto Rico, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic, said Bay News 9 meteorologist Juli Marquez.

Warm sea surface temperatures are helping the wave gradually develop as it moves west-northwest with winds of about 30 mph.

"That with some lower wind shear means that in a couple of days, something could develop," she said.

The first tropical storm would be named Alex.

Forecasters monitored a wave last week out in the Atlantic, but it never developed into anything.

Jeff Masters, chief meteorologist at Weather Underground, wrote on his blog Monday that the wave has "the best chance to become Tropical Storm Alex of any system we've seen so far this year."

At least one computer model shows the wave developing into a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico between Monday and June 30, AccuWeather.com reported.

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Strong tropical wave in central Caribbean could become Alex 06/22/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 22, 2010 3:03pm]

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