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Two Tropical Threats; Both Forecast to Strengthen Before Approaching U.S.

The season's thirteenth tropical depression formed late Wednesday evening and it is forecast to move near or just north of the Caribbean over the weekend. Meanwhile, a strong tropical wave south of Jamaica is showing signs of organization and it is likely to become a depression within a day or so.

NO CURRENT STORMS IN ATLANTIC BASIN

As of mid-morning Thursday, the Hurricane Center said Tropical Depression 13 was moving west-northwestward near 21 mph with top sustained winds near 35 mph. The latest forecast calls for the depression to reach tropical storm status either late Thursday or early Friday, and then track near or just north of the northern Leeward Islands Friday evening. Additional strengthening is possible this weekend, but the hurricane center said nearby dry air and possible interaction with Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, or Cuba are factors causing the intensity forecast to be of low confidence.

The forecast track takes the system somewhere between Cuba, South Florida, and the eastern Gulf of Mexico Monday and Monday night as a strong tropical storm. Forecasters say there could be rainfall and wind impacts over these areas and interests in these areas should continue to monitor the system's progress this weekend.

NO CURRENT STORMS IN ATLANTIC BASIN

The strong tropical wave (called "97L" by meteorologists) is moving through the Caribbean this week and appears better organized on satellite imagery. The National Hurricane Center says it has a high chance of developing into a depression between now and the weekend as it moves toward the western Caribbean, Honduras, and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. Forecast models have been inconsistent regarding the future path and strength of 97L. The models that forecast little or no development take 97L across the Yucatan or Central America, with some slow development over the western Gulf of Mexico next week. However, the models that show more rapid development forecast the developing system to move northward into the central Gulf of Mexico next week.

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Sources include nearest National Weather Service office, National Hurricane Center, and the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network (@FloridaStorms).
Sources include nearby emergency management agencies, FEMA, and your local NPR affiliate. 
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