Tropical Storm Don has formed in the Atlantic a few hundred miles east of the Caribbean, the National Hurricane Center said Monday afternoon.
Asked if Don was a threat to Florida, U.S. Navy Hurricane Specialist Dave Roberts said “negative.”
That’s because Don was pretty far south and was also expected to dissipate within 72 hours after encountering unfavorable conditions.
“We’re expecting the environment to become more of a hindrance because of the [wind] shear,” Roberts said.
The government of Barbados upgraded the tropical storm watch for St. Vincent and the Grenadines to a tropical storm warning with the 11 p.m. advisory.
Warnings mean tropical storm conditions are expected within 24 to 36 hours, while watches mean those conditions are possible over that time frame.
Don is the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season’s fourth named storm — the latest in what’s been a busy start to the season.
According to a tweet from hurricane expert Phil Klotzbach at Colorado State University, on average it takes until Aug. 23 to reach the fourth named storm of the season.
Hurricane forecasters say a busy start doesn’t necessarily mean things will stay that way, but they’ve also predicted that this hurricane season will see above-average activity. So far that prediction has been true.
Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center in Miami said Don’s maximum sustained winds were 45 mph, with tropical storm-force winds extending out 25 miles from the core, making it a relatively small storm. Don was moving west at 17 mph and was forecast to move quickly westward over the next few days, forecasters said.
With 45 mph winds, Don was slightly above the minimum threshold for a tropical storm of 39 mph.
“Little change in strength is forecast during the next 48 hours,” Senior Hurricane Specialist Dan Brown wrote in a 5 p.m. Monday advisory.
Don also wasn’t expected to be long-lived at this point because it was heading toward wind conditions that would likely cause it to lose its closed circulation and become a trough, or an elongated area of low pressure, the hurricane center said.
So far, the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season has seen three previous tropical storms, Arlene, Bret, and Cindy.
Arlene was a rare April storm but it stayed far from land in the Atlantic, while Bret brought heavy rains and flooding to parts of Trinidad and Venezuela. Cindy has so far been the only one to make landfall in the U.S., coming ashore at the Texas-Louisiana border. Cindy was also blamed for the death of a boy who was struck by debris at an Alabama beach.