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Will this tropical disturbance become the next named storm? It's likely

Howard Cohen, Miami Herald on

Published in Weather News

MIAMI -- Mother Nature has given the U.S. East Coast a little over a week reprieve from worry, a week to catch our collective breaths and continue recovery efforts in Florida's Panhandle after the devastation of Hurricane Michael.

But now a new low pressure system, centered about 900 miles east-northeast of the northern Leeward Islands in the central Atlantic, "is gradually becoming better defined," according to the National Hurricane Center.

At the center's 8 a.m. Thursday advisory, the system's shower and thunderstorm activity showed enough signs of organization to give forecasters confidence to predict an 80 percent likelihood formation of a tropical storm in the next five days. Odds are still high -- 70 percent -- that it will reach that status by Saturday.

If so, the system would be named Oscar. Tropical Storm Nadine was no threat to land earlier this month.

The low is expected to move northward into the weekend as it thrives on favorable conditions. The potential Oscar is then expected to turn westward "well to the north or northeast of the Lesser Antilles through early next week," the center said.

It's too soon to say with certainty whether the system will affect the U.S.

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