Tropical Storm Erika forms in Atlantic, could become hurricane

Tropical Storm Erika had 45 mph winds on Tuesday as it formed in the Atlantic.

Story highlights

  • The storm is "poorly organized" but expected to strengthen, forecast says
  • Erika is the fifth named storm of the Atlantic storm season
  • The extended forecast puts the system in the Bahamas this weekend

(CNN)Tropical Storm Erika formed in the Atlantic early Tuesday, putting it on course for the Leeward Islands in the coming days, the National Hurricane Center said.

By Sunday, Erika is forecast to strengthen into a weak hurricane over the Bahamas.
At 8 p.m. Tuesday, the hurricane center found no appreciable change in strength over the course of the day.
    In fact, Air Force and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration planes found Erika to be "poorly organized."
    Tropical storm watches are in place for Montserrat, Antigua, Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, Anguilla, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, Guadeloupe and St. Barthelemy. A tropical storm watch means that tropical storm conditions are possible in the watch area within 48 hours.
    The system then boasted sustained winds of 40 mph -- which was actually a tick down from Tuesday morning. It was centered about 540 miles east of Antigua and moving west at a 20 mph clip.
    Some "slow strengthening" is forecast during the next two days, the hurricane center said.