Tropical depression forms in Atlantic

August 2, 2010 8:54:22 AM PDT
Forecasters are watching showers and thunderstorms around a large low pressure system that became a tropical depression in the southern Atlantic Monday.

Computer models show the system could track towards the East Coast over the next week, but the system is so far away that accurate predictions are impossible at this point.

Monday, the depression was located about 1,365 miles east of the Lesser Antilles and moving west-northwest at 17 mph.

Click here for the ABC11.com interactive hurricane tracking map

The National Hurricane Center said the depression, with maximum sustained winds near 35 mph, was expected to strengthen in the next 48 hours and could be a tropical storm by Monday night or Tuesday. If it does, it would be called Colin - the third named storm in the Atlantic basin this season.

Dennis Feltgen with the center said conditions over the next five days are not favorable for the depression to develop beyond tropical storm strength into a full-blown hurricane.

Feltgen said the forecast five-day track keeps the storm on the Atlantic side of the nation's coast but that it was unclear yet where, if anywhere, it might come ashore.

"At this point, we don't see any direct impacts on the Gulf of Mexico," Feltgen said.

Tropical Storm Bonnie briefly interrupted work in the Gulf on BP's oil spill site last week, after the well was temporarily capped, and the oil company hopes to have a permanent plug in place before hurricane season enters its peak period Aug. 15.

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