Thursday, January 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Weather

System out in Atlantic could become Tropical Storm Don by end of week

A tropical system churning way out in the Atlantic Ocean has a 70 percent chance of strengthening into Tropical Storm Don over the next five days, according to the National Weather Service.

The storm, dubbed Invest 94-L, sits about 650 miles west-southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands and continues to produce disorganized showers and thunderstorms as of Monday morning, the NWS said.

 

"It would be called Don if it becomes a tropical storm," said 10Weather WTSP meteorologist Grant Gilmore. "The forecast models really keep it out at sea for now but most show it (eventually) approaching North America. It will be something we'll continue to watch."

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This is the second system to form off the west coast of Africa this hurricane season. The first was Tropical Storm Bret, which developed in late June but fizzled out into a tropical wave before reaching North America.

It's a bit unusual for Atlantic storms to form this early, as they usually pass through in August and September, forecasters say. In the earlier summer months, systems normally begin to brew in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.

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However, forecasters predicted that the 2017 season may be more active than typical. Warm Atlantic waters also mix in and help fuel the storms.

Conditions are favorable for Invest 94-L to develop into a tropical depression soon, forecasters said, and most models agree it will strengthen into a tropical storm — and possibly a hurricane — by the end of the week.

The cell is expected to move west-northwest in a day or so, forecasters said, and should stay in that direction throughout the remainder of the week.

Contact Samantha Putterman at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @samputterman.

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