Tropical Storm Bret forms and could become a hurricane in the Atlantic

Tropical Storm Bret, in red, is followed by a second tropical wave, in orange, off of the coast of Africa.

Tropical Storm Bret has formed in the central Atlantic Ocean and could become a hurricane by Wednesday night, as it travels toward the Caribbean, the National Hurricane Center said Monday night.

In its 5 p.m. Monday update, the hurricane center said the system would likely strengthen and become a hurricane by Wednesday night, then continue to move across the far eastern Caribbean as a hurricane by Friday morning.

Depending on its track over the next few days, the storm could reach Puerto Rico by Saturday morning, and the Dominican Republic and Haiti by Saturday afternoon.

Forecasters urged those in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands to be vigilant regarding the progress of the storm.

The system, located halfway between Africa and the Lesser Antilles on Monday, has a large area of showers and thunderstorms that are continuing to organize, the hurricane center said.

It is expected to move west at 15 to 20 mph across the eastern and central Atlantic, the hurricane center said in its Monday update.

Meanwhile, a second wave has emerged over the eastern Atlantic Ocean off of western Africa. It was given a 40% chance of developing in the next 48 hours and 50% over the next seven days. It is expected to move west at 10 to 15 mph across the eastern and central Atlantic.

Tropical Storm Arlene, which formed in early June and was short-lived, brought damaging winds and heavy rain to parts of South Florida and the Keys.

Experts predict 14 named storms, seven hurricanes, and three major hurricanes to develop this hurricane season, which runs until Nov. 30.

A strong El Niño weather pattern is expected during the peak of this season, which can decrease cyclone activity in the Atlantic because of increased vertical wind shear. But ocean temperatures are the highest on record since 1979 based on recent 30-day averages, according to the forecast from Colorado State University released earlier this month.


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