Tropical depression 7 is born, expected to become hurricane

The National Hurricane Center has identified tropical depression seven in the far east Atlantic and expects it to strengthen to a Category 1 hurricane within three days.

It could earn the name Gaston before the end of the day if current 35 mph winds crank up to tropical storm strength.

As of a 5 p.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center, the system was about 360 miles south-southwest of the southern Cabo Verde Islands and was expected to continue on a track favorable for tropical formation but is no threat to land.


See Palm Beach Post storm tracking map. 

At the same time, a system closer to the U.S. could impact Florida’s weather late in the weekend or early next week.

That system – Invest 99-L – was given a 50 percent chance of development over the next five days, and an Air Force Hurricane Hunter crew is scheduled to investigate it tomorrow if necessary.


“We think it will have a tough time getting its act together,” said AccuWeather hurricane expert Dan Kottlowski. “Its presence increases the chances of rain Sunday and Monday. It does have some opportunity to develop, but it’s really a wait and see situation.”

The disturbance closer to Africa, dubbed Invest 90-L, is moving west-northwestward at 15 to 20 mph over the eastern tropical Atlantic and has the potential to be a robust tropical cyclone.

It is expected to follow a similar path as that of Tropical Storm Fiona, which has been downgraded to a depression and was no threat to land.

Hurricane center forecasters said the  most recent satellite images do not show a well-defined circulation, which means 90-L is not a tropical system yet.

“I don’t think this one will go nuts right away,” said Phil Klotzbach, a hurricane researcher and lead author of Colorado State University’s storm forecasts. “I don’t think it will be much of an issue for land.”

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Invest 99-L has a 50 percent chance of development over five days with a track that takes it closer to the U.S. coast.

Invest 99-L, which is 850 miles east of the Lesser Antilles, is being choked by a dry layer of Saharan air. Without a moist atmosphere to fuel development, the cluster of thunderstorms is expected to slowly develop during the next couple of days while it heads west-northwest at 15 to 20 mph.

Even if it does not form into a tropical system, AccuWeather forecasters are putting the Lesser Antilles on alert for 99-L.

“Conditions will deteriorate Tuesday night into Wednesday [across the Lesser Antilles] as clouds increase first, followed by numerous showers and a couple of thunderstorms,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Eric Leister said. “The most persistent rainfall looks to be for the islands north of Saint Lucia,” he said.

While this system’s chances of development are medium at best, its track takes it closer to the U.S. coast.

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