Hurricane forecasters say a tropical depression formed in the Atlantic Ocean on Wednesday and appears to be headed toward the Caribbean.
The system was located about 745 miles east of the Leeward Islands late Wednesday afternoon, according to the National Hurricane Center. Maximum sustained winds were at 35 mph and the storm was moving west at 13 mph.
Tropical Depression Seven could develop into a tropical storm as soon as Wednesday night or Thursday morning, the hurricane center said. The next named storm of the year would be Fiona.
Forecasters said they expect the wave to continue moving west, to be through the Leeward Islands by late Friday and to be near the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico this weekend.
Its path after the weekend is unknown, but there is a history of storms emerging from the Caribbean into the Gulf of Mexico and posing a threat to Florida and the Tampa Bay area.
National Weather Service meteorologist Tyler Fleming said it is “certainly within the range of possibility” that could happen with this system. However, it still is too early to tell, he said, because any potential impact it might have on Florida is at least a week out.
“Interests in the Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico should monitor the progress of this system,” the advisory states.
Activity in the tropics has picked up in recent weeks after an unusually quiet month of August. Hurricane Earl formed, strengthened and curled to the north before dissolving last weekend. And a series of waves that have been monitored by forecasters over the last couple of weeks have not amounted to much.
Saturday was considered the “peak” day of hurricane season, as September is a typically very active month for storms.
• • •
2022 Tampa Bay Times Hurricane Guide
IT'S STORM SEASON: Get ready and stay informed at tampabay.com/hurricane.
RISING THREAT: Tampa Bay will flood. Here's how to get ready.
DOUBLE-CHECK: Checklists for building all kinds of hurricane kits
• • •
Rising Threat: A special report on flood risk and climate change
INTERACTIVE MAP: Search your Tampa Bay neighborhood to see the hurricane flood risk.