Tropical Depression 18 formed in the Atlantic Ocean on Wednesday, with tracking models showing it could venture toward islands in the Caribbean Sea and potentially veer close to the U.S.
The depression is more than 2,000 miles from the Northern Leeward Islands. Current tracking models from the National Hurricane Center show the storm is forecast to travel toward Puerto Rico and the British Virgin Islands but could veer north by next week.
The storm is carrying maximum sustained winds of 35 mph and moving about 15 mph. The National Hurricane Center said the depression is forecast to strengthen over the next several days and become a tropical storm by Thursday.
The storm could be near hurricane strength by this weekend, the Center said.
If the storm does strengthen, it would be called Sam. The only remaining names on the list for the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season are Sam, Teresa, Victor, and Wanda.
If those names are used, there is a supplemental list approved by the World Meteorological Organization which replaced the Greek alphabet used during last year's record-breaking season.
Two other storms are swirling in the Atlantic: Tropical Depression Rose and Tropical Depression Peter, which dissipated late Wednesday.
Both are not forecast to make landfall,but the remnants of Peter could produce rainfall totals of 1 to 4 inches, with storm total accumulations up to 6 inches, across parts of the Northern Leeward Islands, and areas in the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and Hispaniola through Thursday morning.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Tropical Depression 18 could strengthen to Hurricane Sam this weekend