Tropical Depression Drifts Westward
MIAMI (AP) _ A tropical depression off the African coast continued to drift westward Monday at about 15 mph as forecasters projected it could become a ″minimal tropical storm″ in 24 hours.
Hal Gerrish, a hurricane forecaster National Hurricane Center, said there has been no important change in the storm since Sunday.
Gerrish said it was still impossible to tell whether the storm would have an impact on Pope John Paul II’s planned trip to Miami on Sept. 10-11.
″You’re looking at the peak of hurricane season then,″ he said. ″Our peak activity takes place at that time.″
At 10:30 p.m. EDT, the storm was located about 1,000 miles west of the Cape Verde islands with top winds at 35 mph.
The storm system’s winds were just 4 mph less than the definition of a tropical storm mph, and forecaster Bob Case said conditions were right for it to build.
The system, the sixth depression of the 1987 Atlantic hurricane season, was expected to maintain its current speed and direction.
The Hurricane Center earlier predicted it would strengthen and be named Tropical Storm Cindy.
Because of the depression’s distance from shore, it will be two or three days before forecasters can send a plane out for direct observation. Until then they will have to rely on satellite photos, said Case.
The depression is not a threat to land, and there are few ships in the area, Case said.
This year’s first tropical storm, Arlene, became a hurricane in August but never hit land and dissipated Aug. 24 after wandering northeast in the Atlantic Ocean.
August’s Tropical Storm Bret also dwindled into a rain storm on Aug. 24.