Hurricane center tracks Atlantic disturbance that could become tropical depression

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ORLANDO, Fla. — The National Hurricane Center has got its eye on an area of disturbance with a 40% chance of becoming the 21st named storm of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season.

A nontropical low pressure system emerged overnight 150 miles east-southeast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, with gale-force winds, the NHC said in its 8 p.m. Eastern time update.

Meteorologists are expecting the gale area to move north-northeastward and could acquire some limit subtropical characteristics before colliding with a front.

Models forecast a 10% chance of the system becoming a tropical depression in the next two days, and 40% chance by the end of the week, but moving eastward or southeastward over the central Atlantic. The system will not impact Florida.

If the storm develops maximum sustained winds of 40 mph or more, it will become a tropical or subtropical storm, receiving the name Wanda — it is also the last name on the World Meteorological Organization’s regular-season list. If there is another named storm after Wanda, the WMO will activate its auxiliary list, starting with Adria. The WMO retired from using Greek letters earlier this year because of confusion caused by similar-sounding letters: Zeta, Eta, and Theta.

The Atlantic has been quiet for the last two weeks since Hurricane Sam’s long trek through the Atlantic and became a post-tropical storm on Oct. 5.

There have been 20 named storms this year.

At this same point last year, meteorologists were keeping track of 27 named storms with Epsilon and Zeta spinning in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. The latter struck Louisiana on Oct. 28 as a Category 3 major hurricane causing $1.25 billion in damages, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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