Tropical disturbance forms in Atlantic

Meteorologists are watching a tropical disturbance in the eastern Atlantic Ocean that is expected to strengthen very little this week.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center give the disturbance a 10 percent chance of forming into a system within the next 48 hours and a 30 percent chance of developing into a system by the weekend. The disturbance is moving slowly westward and is about midway between the Cape Verde Islands and the Lesser Antilles.

The hurricane season has produced only two named storms so far: Hurricane Arthur, which struck North Carolina in July, and Hurricane Bertha, which did not impact the mainland United States. Experts with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Colorado State University lowered their forecasts for the remainder of the season, noting that conditions in the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico, overall, are not conducive to hurricane formation.

A typical year, based on weather records dating to 1950, has 12 tropical storms, of which seven become hurricanes. A tropical storm has sustained winds of 39 mph; it becomes a hurricane when its winds reach 74 mph.

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