Update 8 a.m.: The chances of cyclone formation to an area of storms between Africa and the Lesser Antilles has decreased to 10 percent in the next five days.
Some slight development is possible in the next day or two while it remains almost stationary, the National Hurricane Center reports.
Original post: The National Hurricane Center is giving an area of showers and thunderstorms between Africa and the Lesser Antilles a 20 percent of becoming something tropical over the next five days.
Conditions are expected to become conducive for gradual development as the system moves west, but strong upper-level winds that will hit the area next week could limit the chance for future development.
If the storm develops tropical characteristics it will be named Ernesto.
The forecast for something tropical to form in the main development region comes a day after the Climate Prediction Center reduced its forecast for the 2018 hurricane season, giving it a 60 percent chance of being below normal.
That’s a hefty change form the May forecast, which predicted only a 25 percent chance of below normal activity.
Gerry Bell, the center’s lead seasonal hurricane forecaster, said the growing likelihood that a storm-thwarting El Niño will form, combined with Atlantic water temperatures that are the coldest since the 1990s, were key factors in making the new prediction.
Florida is entering the peak of hurricane season between mid-August through October when 95 percent of hurricanes form. Already, four named storms — Alberto, Beryl, Chris and Debby — have spun up this season. Beryl and Chris both mustered hurricane strength, with Chris intensifying to a Category 2 storm with peak wind speeds of 105 mph.