Tropical Storm Fiona joined by another new disturbance, hurricane center now watching three systems

Tropical Storm Fiona continued a steady trek across the tropical Atlantic Thursday with no aspirations of building to hurricane strength or plans to hit land.

But trailing Fiona are two disturbances — one newly identified Thursday — that may have bigger ambitions.

Check the Palm Beach Post interactive storm tracking map.

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Both were given a 20 percent chance of development over the next five days, but the most recent disturbance is farther off the coast of Africa with a five-day track that puts it at the doorstep of the Lesser Antilles by the middle of next week.

The National Hurricane Center said the system, a disorganized cluster of thunderstorms 300 miles southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands, is moving west at about 15 mph.

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Bob Henson, a meteorologist and blogger with Weather Underground, said the newest disturbance is one to watch because it is traveling at a lower latitude.

“It’s certainly a little more concerning,” Henson said. “It doesn’t have a strong circulation yet, but it’s as big as Fiona, if not larger. It looks like it could be a fairly well sized tropical system if it does develop.”

Michael Lowry, a hurricane specialist with the Weather Channel, agreed the disturbance bears watching.

“We are getting toward the peak of hurricane season and it doesn’t take a large part of the ocean to create a hurricane,” Lowry said. “If the right conditions come into play, this is the time of year you can get quick development.”

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Tropical Storm Fiona had 45 mph winds as of 5 p.m. Thursday and was heading west-northwest at about 8 mph. Tropical storm force winds extend out 35 miles from the center, and some minimal strengthening is expected in the next day or so as it moves over sea surface temperatures of up to 84 degrees.

But Fiona is also nearly surrounded by Saharan dust and is about to run into wind shear of 23 mph. Both will work against Fiona gaining too much strength and the storm is expected to max out with 50 mph winds.

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Saharan air layer

Saharan air layer is shown in oranges and yellows.

 

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