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Will Tropical Storm Danny Become First Hurricane of 2015?

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Tropical Storm Danny has the potential to become the first hurricane of the 2015 Atlantic season; one of the earlier hurricanes in recent seasons.

The system moved westward across Africa during the first part of August and was continuing to move westward this week over the south-central Atlantic Ocean at about 12 miles per hour. Beginning as a tropical depression, Danny officially became a tropical storm on Tuesday morning, when by definition, sustained winds reached 39 mph (for a system to become a hurricane, sustained winds must reach 74 mph).

Danny gained some strength and speed overnight, with sustained winds increasing overnight to about 50 mph, is currently about 1,400 miles east of Windward and Leeward islands just north of the equator, and could reach the Leeward Islands in the eastern Caribbean early next week. A general track to the west-northwest is most likely through this weekend, with Danny being guided along by the oval-shaped circulation of high pressure over the central Atlantic.

Currently, Danny is forecast to become a Category 1 hurricane over the weekend, but the long-term future of the storm is still in question. Danny follows Ana, Bill and Claudette from earlier this season, which in case you didn’t know, are named in alphabetical order each season. None of the first three storms reached hurricane.

One thing working against the possibility of a hurricane developing in the Caribbean is the dry air caused by a rare drought that many of the islands in the Caribbean Sea are currently suffering through. We’re sure the residents of that area would trade the inconvenience and hazards that a modest tropical storm as it would bring badly needed  rainfall. Even a poorly organized tropical depression or storm could bring an uptick in drenching showers and thunderstorms, provided the system tracks close by. But a full-fledged hurricane is quite another matter. Nothing good could come from that.

The exact track of the system beyond several days is questionable at this point. The official forecast from the National Hurricane Center indicates that Tropical Storm Danny could become the first hurricane of the season on Thursday. The center is forecasting Danny’s winds to increase to 90 mph on Saturday, which would make the storm a Category 1 hurricane.

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