Tropical depression forms south of Cuba, set to strengthen

International

This GOES-16 GeoColor satellite image taken Friday, Sept. 18, 2020, at 12:20 p.m. EDT., and provided by NOAA, shows Hurricane Teddy, center, in the Atlantic, Tropical Depression 22, left, in the Gulf of Mexico, the remnants Paulette, top right, and Tropical Storm Wilfred, lower right. Forecasters have run out of traditional names for the Atlantic hurricane season. Tropical Storm Wilfred, the last of traditional names, officially formed little more than an hour before subtropical storm Alpha, prompting the hurricane center to tweet “get out the Greek alphabet.” (NOAA via AP)

MIAMI (AP) — A tropical depression formed Saturday afternoon south of Cuba amid forecasts that the system would become a named tropical storm later this weekend and possibly a hurricane within days, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Tropical Depression 28 was centered about 240 miles (380 kilometers) south-southeast of the western tip of Cuba on Saturday night, the center said. It had maximum sustained winds of 35 mph (55 kph) and was stationary, but expected to move to the north-northwest overnight.

Forecasters said the depression is expected to strengthen into a tropical storm sometime Sunday and could attain hurricane status over the southern Gulf of Mexico by Tuesday. The center said the storm is expected to remain south of Cuba on Sunday and approach Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula — or the Yucatan Channel — late Monday before entering the southern Gulf.

The government of Cuba has issued a tropical storm watch for the province of Pinar del Rio. The hurricane center said people on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula should monitor the progress of the storm, which is expected to gradually strengthen over the next 72 hours.

Meanwhile, Hurricane Epsilon was located about 785 miles (1,265 kilometers) northeast of Bermuda on Saturday night. The storm had top sustained winds of 75 mph (120 kph) with higher gusts, making it a Category 1 hurricane.

It is expected to move quicker toward the northeast through Sunday, and become a large, powerful post-tropical cyclone by late Sunday, forecasters said. Large ocean swells generated by the hurricane could cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions along U.S. East Coast and Atlantic Canada during the next couple of days.

This year’s season has so many storms that the hurricane center has turned to the Greek alphabet after running out of official names.

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