Tropical Depression Seven formed in the Atlantic on Wednesday morning, the National Hurricane Center said in its 11 a.m. ET update – and could become Tropical Storm Fiona later in the day or on Thursday.
The system is located about 800 miles east of the Leeward Islands and has winds of 35 mph with stronger gusts. Tropical storm watches may be required for portions of the Leeward Islands later Wednesday.
The depression is forecast to become a tropical storm (which means winds of 39 mph or higher) Wednesday night or Thursday as it gradually strengthens – and then struggle to maintain that strength over the next few days.
It must reach tropical storm strength to earn a name.
The system is expected to approach the Leeward Islands on Friday as a minimal tropical storm bringing heavy rain and possible wind impacts.
This weekend, it could move near or over portions of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. By early next week, the system is forecast to be near Hispaniola, where it will be weakened by interaction with the island’s mountainous terrain.