The eighth tropical depression of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season formed Tuesday over the north-central Atlantic, far from any land, and is forecast to turn into Tropical Storm Gaston soon.
Forecasters are also watching two disturbances, and one has a high chance of turning into a tropical depression in the next several days.
Also on their radar: Hurricane Fiona, which left devastating damage in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic.
Fiona is bringing stormy conditions to the Turks and Caicos and tropical storm conditions to portions of the southeastern Bahamas as a Category 3 storm.
Here’s what to know:
—Tropical Depression Eight forecast
Tropical Depression Eight is about 1,110 miles west-southwest of the Azores, according to the National Hurricane Center’s advisory on Tuesday.
The system has maximum sustained winds near 35 mph with higher gusts and is expected to become a tropical storm soon, possibly by Tuesday night, as it moves through the Atlantic’s warm waters. If it were to turn into a tropical storm, it would be named Gaston and would be the seventh named storm of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season.
“Interests in the Azores should monitor the progress of the system,” the hurricane center said.
To be a tropical storm, the system needs to have maximum sustained winds of at least 39 mph. The forecast shows the system moving north near 10 mph and making a turn to the northeast, likely on Wednesday.
“By the end of the week, however, the depression is expected to stall in weak steering currents as high pressure builds near and to the north of the cyclone,” the hurricane center said. “Over the weekend, the depression is expected to turn northwestward and increase its forward speed as Fiona tracks well to the west of this system.”
Forecasters expect the system will become extratropical over the weekend once it runs into cooler waters, drier air and an increase in westerly shear.
—What about the two disturbances?
The disturbance that forecasters are closely monitoring is a few hundred miles east of the Windward Islands Tuesday afternoon and is continuing to show signs of organization.
The hurricane center said conditions are friendly enough for it to turn into a tropical depression within the next few days as it quickly moves west to west-northwest across the eastern and central Caribbean Sea.
The hurricane center in its advisory at 2 p.m. Eastern time Tuesday upped the system’s formation chances from 40% to 60% for the next 48 hours and from 70% to 80% through the next five days.
“Interests in the Windward Islands should closely monitor the progress of this system as heavy rainfall and gusty winds could affect these islands beginning on Wednesday,” the hurricane center said.
Forecasters are also watching a tropical wave that is forecast to move off the west coast of Africa in a couple of days. The hurricane center says it has no chance of formation in the next 48 hours and a low 20% chance of formation as it moves north between west Africa and the Cabo Verde Islands through the end of the week.
—Hurricane Fiona forecast
By reaching Category 3 level strength, Fiona has become the first major hurricane of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season. It is not a threat to Florida or the rest of the United States.
The hurricane was about 30 miles north-northwest of North Caicos with maximum sustained winds of 115 mph with higher gusts, according to the National Hurricane Center’s advisory at 2 p.m. Tuesday. A turn to the north is expected Tuesday night or Wednesday.
“On the forecast track, the center of Fiona will continue to move near the eastern Turks and Caicos during the next few hours, away from those islands by tomorrow, and approach Bermuda late on Thursday,” the hurricane center said.
For the next several hours, Fiona will continue to bring hurricane conditions over portions of the Turks and Caicos and tropical storm conditions over portions of the southeastern Bahamas, according to the hurricane center.
Forecasters think Fiona will strengthen into a Category 4 storm by Wednesday night as it moves through the Atlantic’s waters. The forecast shows the system as a Cat 4 with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph by the time it nears Bermuda.
Turks and Caicos are under a hurricane warning and a tropical storm warning is in effect for the southeastern Bahamas. Forecasters say Bermuda should continue to monitor the system.©2022 Miami Herald. Visit at miamiherald.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.