by Dave Hennen
CNN Senior Meteorologist
As we head towards the peak of hurricane season in early September the tropics continue to be active. Tropical Depression Nine has formed in the central Atlantic, and is forecast to strengthen into a Tropical Storm later on today. The system is currently located over 500 miles east of the Leeward and Windward Islands with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph. The storm is forecast to become a tropical storm later today, and could reach hurricane intensity as it moves into the Caribbean. Tropical Storm watches and warnings cover much of the Leeward Islands as well as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. It is still too early to tell what if any effects this could have on the U.S. mainland, but there are several computer models that bring the storm into the Gulf of Mexico, while others move the storm further east. With roughly 50,000 people headed for Tampa for the Republican National Convention on August 27-30th there is heightened interest in the future path of the storm.
Were also watching another disturbance even further east that is located roughly 400 miles southwest of the Cape Verde Islands that the National Hurricane Center is saying has a 60% chance of becoming a named storm in the next 48 hours.