As mentioned here earlier this week, the tropical wave southwest of the Cape Verde Islands has developed into a Tropical Depression and is expected to become the 4th named storm of the season. The system, now with a well defined central circulation and organized deep convection, is slowly increasing in strength despite the dry air in the area.
The depression, located at 10.5 North and 35.9 West, has maximum sustained winds of 35 mph with gusts over 40 mph. The system is moving to the west at 13 mph but is expected to turn slightly north as a weakness in the ridge of high pressure develops. That weakness is only temporary though and a turn back toward the west is expected. The tropical depression currently has a central pressure of 1009 millibars. The anticipated maximum sustained winds are located below. As you can see on the map, we anticipate this system to reach hurricane strength sometime on Thursday. The current model forecasts bring the system up to Category 2 status by the beginning of next week as conditions remain favorable for additional strengthening and development for the next few days.
The tropical depression is expected to become a Tropical Storm over the next day or 2, and a projection of the area of possible Tropical Storm winds is here.
This system is expected to be closing in the the Lesser Antilles by the end of this weekend. Interests here in the United States should expect the approach of this system late next week and should continue to monitor this system accordingly.
Forecaster Robert Millette