By Richard Tribou and Tess Sheets
ORLANDO, Fla. — Tropical Storm Dorian, the fourth named storm of the season, formed Saturday evening in the Atlantic as a low pressure system with a high chance of strengthening, according to the National Hurricane Center.
In a 5 p.m. update Saturday, forecasters said Dorian may reach hurricane strength by Tuesday as it approaches the Lesser Antilles islands. It is not currently a threat to land and no warnings or watches are in place but there may be some issued Sunday.
Meanwhile, the low pressure area parked on South Florida has been producing a large area of disorganized showers and thunderstorms that stretch out to the Bahamas, according to the NHC’s 2 p.m. update Saturday.
By mid-morning Saturday, the majority of the thunderstorms were offshore, though. NHC said there is still a 70% chance a tropical depression would form within 48 hours and 90% chance over the next five days. The NHC may send its Hurricane Hunter airplane to investigate Sunday, it said.
For now it will bring rain as it slogs its way over the Florida peninsula before moving off the east coast and into the Atlantic by Sunday and then makes its way west into the open ocean and away from the U.S. coast.
If it strengthens into a tropical storm, it would be named Tropical Storm Erin.
Dorian is located about 725 miles east southeast of Barbados and was packing maximum wind speeds of 40 mph Saturday. It was moving west at 12 mph, according to NHC.
It is expected to continue in that direction before shifting west-northwest Sunday, a direction it is predicted to continue into the week, the NHC said.
Forecasters are also tracking a third low pressure system that formed Saturday morning off the coasts of Texas and Louisiana. The expectation of development is low, with the NHC predicting only a 10% chance over 48 hours. The system will bring rain to southeast Texas and southwest Louisiana this weekend, according to the NHC.