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Tropical storm likely in the Caribbean

Friday, August 22, 2014, 14:33 GMT -

A tropical low is currently situated in the Caribbean and is likely to develop into a tropical storm over the next 48 hours.

A small area of low pressure is currently situated over the British Virgin Islands, bringing some showers and thunderstorms to the area.

If it does strengthen to give sustained winds of 39mph or more, it will be given the name Cristobal and be the third named storm of 2014 Atlantic hurricane season.

This year has been a fairly inactive year in the Atlantic, and if tropical storm Cristobal does develop over the next couple of days, it will be the latest time the third named storm has come about since 1992.

The National Hurricane Centre in Miami, Florida currently gives the low an 80% chance of developing into a tropical storm over the next 5 days.

It is forecast to track eastwards across Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic before heading across the Bahamas.

There is considerable uncertainty in what the storm will then do. The most likely to track of the storm is for it to curve north-east and miss the US east coast. However, some forecast models do show the possibility of the storm slamming into Florida as a fairly intense hurricane.

The last storm, hurricane Bertha, took a very similar track over the Caribbean earlier this month and eventually made its way to the UK as an extra-tropical low. While there are no indications yet that this system will do the same, it is definitely one to watch over the next few days.

Over in the east Pacific, a very active hurricane season is under way with 3 tropical storms currently off the west coast of North America. Tropical storm Marie has just formed to the south of Acapulco, Mexico this morning, making it the 14th named storm of the year so far.

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