Florida, U.S. in clear as tropical depression grows in strength

A tropical depression pushing north-northwest in the Atlantic Ocean is expected to become Tropical Storm Gert later Sunday, but the system poses no threat to Florida or the U.S. East Coast, forecasters predict.

“The models are in good agreement that it will turn northward, then northeast and accelerate on a path between the East Coast and Bermuda, safely away from both,” said Dan Brown, a forecaster at the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

At 11 a.m, Sunday what is labeled tropical depression number 8 was located 525 miles southwest of Bermuda with maximum sustained winds of 35 miles an hour. The system was moving at about 13 mph.

The depression would earn the name Gert when winds increase to 39 mph.

A turn toward the north is forecast to occur Sunday night, and to the north-northeast on Monday.

Forecasters are also watching a tropical wave that has moved off the west coast of Africa. That system is forecast to move westward over the next couple of days and merge with a broad area of low pressure located southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands.

Environmental conditions are expected to be ripe for gradual strengthening. Storm formation chance through 48 hours are near zero percent, and 20 percent over five days.

mwclary@sunsentinel.com

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