Elections

A week before the RNC, the tropics are stirring

A system of showers and thunderstorms continues to develop as a potential tropical storm as it moves westward across the Atlantic Ocean, according to the National Hurricane Center.

As of 8 a.m. Monday, the area associated with a tropical wave and a low pressure area was located about 1,100 miles east of the Lesser Antilles. The Hurricane Center said "environmental conditions are conducive for a tropical depression to form during the next day or so," as the large system moves westward about 20 or 25 mph.

The Hurricane Center said there was a "high," or 80 percent chance, of the system becoming a tropical cyclone within the next 48 hours.

According to Bay News 9 meteorologist Josh Linker, the system could develop into the next named storm - Isaac - within a couple of days.

Computer models have the system tracking west toward the Caribbean Sea. If it reaches the Caribbean as a tropical storm, it could become a threat to the southeastern United States.

That includes Florida, which is preparing to receive some 50,000 visitors for the Republican National Convention in Tampa starting next weekend.

But it's way too early to get nervous, meteorologist Linker said.

"There's a whole lot of uncertainty here because we don't yet know where it will develop and how it will develop," he said. "But with what's out there, it does appear it could develop and move to the west in the coming days."

Behind this system is another area of showers and thunderstorms located about 150 miles south of the Cape Verde Islands. Moving westward at about 15 or 20 mph, the Hurricane Center said there was a "low," or 20 percent, chance of this system becoming a tropical cyclone within the next 48 hours.

Closer to Florida, the Hurricane Center said there was about a 30 percent chance that an area of cloudiness and showers in the southwestern Gulf of Mexico would re-develop into Tropical Storm Helene within the next two days. The system was expected to drop heavy rains onto the Mexican coast.

No threat to Florida is Hurricane Gordon, which as of 5 a.m. had passed over the Azores Islands and was continuing to move eastward.

Bay News 9 contributed to this story.

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