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Hurricane Center Closely Watches Budding Atlantic Storm

Aug. 22 (Bloomberg) -- A potential tropical system became a bit ragged with poor definition late yesterday as it neared the Leeward Islands at the eastern edge of the Caribbean Sea.

A U.S. Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter found a small area of winds reaching 39 miles (63 kilometers) per hour on the northeast edge of the low-pressure system, the National Hurricane Center said.

That wasn’t enough to make it a tropical storm. Wind speed is just one piece of what makes a storm a true tropical system. Others include a defined circulation and well-organized showers and thunderstorms, all of which are lacking here.

The system also has to pass over the mountains of the island of Hispaniola, which can reach 10,000 feet and may disrupt its development. Still, it’s too early to say the storm won’t become Cristobal, the next name on the Atlantic season’s list.

By early next week, the low will have moved into the waters around the Bahamas, where conditions will be more conducive to helping it grow. The hurricane center gives it a 60 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression in the next two days and a 80 percent chance by Aug. 26.

Meanwhile in the Pacific, Tropical Storm Karina and Tropical Storm Lowell are churning in the seas far from land, where they don’t pose a threat to anyone. They were joined today by Tropical Storm Marie, which is expected to grow into a major hurricane off the southwestern coast of Mexico.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian K. Sullivan in Boston at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: David Marino at Richard Stubbe, Charlotte Porter

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