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New tropical depression could become a major hurricane by next week

Tropical Depression No. 15 formed in the Atlantic Ocean on Friday and is expected to become the fourth major hurricane of 2023.
Tropical Depression 15 in the open Atlantic.
Posted at 2:37 PM, Sep 15, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-15 14:37:09-04

A new tropical depression formed in the Atlantic Ocean on Friday, which forecasters expect will quickly strengthen into a major hurricane by early next week. 

Tropical Depression No. 15 is spinning in the open Atlantic, approximately halfway between the eastern Caribbean Islands and the coast of Africa. It was packing top winds of 35 mph as of midday Friday. 

The National Hurricane Center predicts that by early Saturday it will become a tropical storm. The official forecast has it becoming a hurricane by late Sunday, and potentially a major hurricane by early next week. The National Hurricane Center said near-record warmth in the Atlantic will fuel its strengthening. 

"It probably sounds like a broken record at this point in the season, but rapid intensification is a significant possibility, and the official forecast could be conservative," the National Hurricane Center said.

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The system is moving toward Bermuda but is not expected to reach the island in the next five days. 

To date, there have been 14 tropical storms, five hurricanes and three major hurricanes in the Atlantic this season. The peak of hurricane season is generally Sept. 10. 

So far, forecasts of this year's more active tropical season than usual have remained true. 

The U.S. has been directly impacted by one major storm, Hurricane Idalia, which came ashore Aug. 30 as a Category 3 hurricane. The Northeastern U.S. could also be affected by Hurricane Lee this weekend. 

Although not expected to hit the U.S. directly, its outer bands could bring gusty winds and high surf to the New England coast this weekend.