Cape Verde hurricane season blows in with Tropical Depression 5
Published: August 15, 2013
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ST. CROIX - Just as Atlantic hurricane season is poised to kick into high gear, Tropical Depression 5 formed Wednesday night in the far east Atlantic near the Cape Verde Islands.
The cyclone formed just days before the start of the so-called Cape Verde hurricane season, which typically runs from approximately Aug. 20 to Sept. 15, said Luis Rosa, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in San Juan.
"It's the most active period, when we have the highest occurrence of Cape Verde storms," Rosa said.
Cape Verde storms or hurricanes originate south of the Cape Verde islands and, in general, tend to be large and strong when they reach this side of the Atlantic.
"They have the whole Atlantic basin to gather strength," Rosa said.
Cape Verde hurricane season is typically marked by tropical waves with the potential to develop into cyclones rolling off the coast of Africa, one after the other, every few days and making their way across the Atlantic.
Some develop. Some don't.
Tropical Depression 5, though, is expected to initially strengthen to a tropical storm sometime today, then eventually weaken, with some models showing it degenerating into a tropical wave by the end of the five-day forecast period, Rosa said.
It was not clear whether it might come near the territory.
"It's very far away from the Caribbean region right now. It will take probably seven days to come here," Rosa said Wednesday night. "It's too early to tell, basically."
The National Hurricane Center had been keeping an eye on the low pressure area that became Tropical Depression 5, even while it was still moving off the African coast.
At press time, the Hurricane Center determined it was a tropical depression and gave it a number.
At that time, it was located about 80 miles southeast of the southernmost Cape Verde Islands and was moving west-northwest near 14 mph, according to the Hurricane Center. Maximum sustained winds were near 35 mph with higher gusts.
The Hurricane Center anticipated some strengthening during the next two days, with the depression becoming Tropical Storm Erin today. Some weakening is expected late in the forecast period.
"But we're getting close to that time of year, late August and early September," Rosa said of the tropical depression. "It's basically telling us that hurricane season is here, but right now, I wouldn't be too concerned about it because it's very far out."
However, he noted that this would be a good time for residents who do not have their hurricane kits in order to do so.
- Contact Joy Blackburn at 714-9145 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.