A tropical depression formed in the Atlantic Ocean on Monday and is heading toward the Caribbean Sea.
At 11am Cayman time on Monday, the National Hurricane Center in Miami reported that Tropical Depression Four was located about 520 miles west-southwest of the Cape Verde Islands, or about 2,000 miles east of the Lesser Antilles. It was moving west at 21 miles per hour.
It was located near Latitude 12.0 North, Longitude 31.6 and was moving toward the west near 21 miles per hour. Maximum sustained winds were near 35mph and the depression was predicted to become a tropical storm by mid day today.
The Cape Verde-type system came off of Africa last week as a vigorous tropical wave.
Computer models suggest steady strengthening, with at least one major model forecasting the storm to reach a major Category 3 hurricane by Saturday. NOAA’s official forecast has the storm a Category 2 with winds over 100 mph on Saturday.
When the storm reaches 39 miles per hour in sustained wind velocity, it will be named Tropical Storm Dean.
Computer models vary with regard to track, with some having the system curve north of the Leeward Islands. However, the official NOAA track has the system entering the Caribbean Sea. One model has the system coming very close to Grand Cayman to the south and another model shows it travelling between Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac. Other models have the system travelling considerably south of Grand Cayman.
In addition, the area of disturbed weather that impacted the Cayman Islands over the weekend has moved in to the south-eastern Gulf of Mexico and has the potential to develop. Potential tracks of that system could take the system anywhere from north-eastern Mexico to eastern Louisiana.
The Atlantic Basin is entering the busiest part of its hurricane season, with the peak around 10 September.