Tropical Storm Ernesto formed in the Atlantic less than 300 miles away from the Windward Islands.
Maximum sustained winds for Ernesto are 50 mph.
The storm is moving 22 mph to the west.
MIAMI – As the peak of the Atlantic Hurricane Season gets underway, the Gulf Coast already has a depression to keep an eye on in the mid Atlantic Ocean.
Thursday, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) has increased the chances that an area of low pressure in the Atlantic will become better organized. Now the center believes there is a 60 percent chance it will develop into a tropical cyclone during the next 48 hours.
The fifth tropical storm of the season has already shown it is better organized over Wednesday night, early Thursday morning leading into the 7 a.m. CDT report where the NHC saw conditions that are “marginally conducive” for gradual development.
The system continued its westward movement at 15-20 mph Thursday. It still laid hundreds of miles east-southeast of the Windward Islands.
Tropical storm watches are in effect for the islands of Barbados, Dominica and St. Lucia.
The depression’s maximum sustained winds are at 35 mph.
Forecasters say the storm is expected to strengthen. Its general track takes it toward Jamaica, though forecasters warn that the path of a tropical system can be unpredictable.
For now, the computer tracks have the system strengthening to a tropical storm Friday and continuing east-northeast on its way to Mexico.
The NHC and many others also has their eyes on a second wave over Hispaniola is given a zero chance of development as it interacts with land.