Another tropical storm has formed in the eastern Atlantic Ocean, and it’s likely to strengthen into the fourth hurricane of the season, according to U.S. weather officials on Wednesday.
As of Wednesday morning, Tropical Storm Irma hasn’t posed any immediate threat to land areas, but that could change quickly.
The storm is located some 420 miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands, and is moving westward at 10-15 mph. It currently has maximum sustained winds of 50 mph.
According to National Hurricane Center, the storm will likely form into a hurricane.
“Some strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours and Irma could become a hurricane on Friday,” forecaster Eric Blake wrote in a 11 a.m. advisory, as reported by the Sun-Sentinel.
It’s unclear if the hurricane will hit the United States, but it is tracking toward the Caribbean Sea.
“Thereafter, the ridge builds southwestward, which will likely cause the storm to move, somewhat unusually, toward the west-southwest,” Blake wrote.
However, as reported by the Miami Herald, models remain split on the storm’s track: one shows it steering towards the Lesser Antilles while others show it going north.
“There is the potential to ramp up to a powerful hurricane in the coming days,” said AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.
“All interests in the eastern Caribbean will need to monitor the progress of this evolving tropical cyclone, especially next week,” Kottlowski said. “It is way too soon to say with certainty where and if this system will impact the U.S.”
Tropical Storm Harvey bore down on eastern Texas and Louisiana on Wednesday, bringing the catastrophic downpour that paralyzed U.S. energy hub Houston, where a record 50 inches of rain—more than the average rainfall the area gets in a year—drove tens of thousands of people from their homes.
The recently downgraded tropical storm, when it first came ashore on Friday near Corpus Christi, Texas, was the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in more than 50 years, and has killed at least 17 people and forced 30,000 people to flee to emergency shelters.
Damage has been estimated at tens of billions of dollars, making it one of the costliest U.S. natural disasters.
Reuters contributed to this report.