Image: National Hurricane Center (Photo : National Hurricane Center)
Tropical Storm Erin, the fifth named storm of the 2013 Atlantic season, is churning in the Atlantic and is currently moving away from the Cape Verde Islands off the coast of Africa.
As of the most recent update from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) issued at 11:00 a.m. AST, the storm is located approximately 115 miles off of Brava in the Cape Verde Islands.
The center of the storm is located at latitude 14.4 North and longitude 26.5 West. Erin is moving toward the west-northwest at approximately 15 mph. This general motion is expected to continue over the next couple of days.
According to the forecast track, the center of the storm is expected to continue moving away from the Cape Verde Islands. As such, the government of the Islands has discontinued the tropical storm warning for the southern Cape Verde Islands.
Maximum sustained winds for the storm are at approximately 40 mph with higher gusts being reported. Some strengthening of the storm is expected over the next two days.
Tropical storm force winds are extending outward up to 35 miles mainly to the east of the storm.
According to a report from AccuWeather.com, Erin will not likely impact the U.S., but should still be monitored as it is forecast to track west-northwest over the next several days.
Conditions are becoming favorable in the Atlantic for storm development, typical for mid-to-late August. Over the past week a strong opposing wind shear has weakened across the tropics and dry winds from the Sahara off the coast of Africa have begun to dissipate. These factors are likely to lead to an increased number of storms in the Atlantic Basin in the coming weeks.
Nearer to home, tropical development in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico has been a concern throughout this week. Meteorologists forecast that due to moisture shifting from the Gulf toward the U.S. the system has favorable odds for developing toward the U.S.
However, meteorologists say it is still questionable whether the storm will have enough time to officially strengthen into a tropical depression or storm.