Tropical Depression 3 forms near Antigua

Bridgetown, Barbados, July 31, 2006 – French and Dutch islands in the northeastern Caribbean late tonight issued a tropical storm watch as Tropical Depression #3 formed less than 200 miles away and forecasters say a warning may be issued for the English speaking Caribbean islands in the vicinity early Tuesday with little or no notice.


The cyclone formed from a weak surface circulation which developed and remained on a well organised tropical wave which forecasters have been monitoring for the last week. The wave actually broke in two on Friday with the top portion developing into this weak cyclone.


The system is very weak with half of it being battered by strong upper level winds which confined the thunderstorms to the eastern side of the system. Given the less than favourable environmental conditions, this is expected to be no more than just a tropical depression which will dissipate by Thursday at the latest.


At 11 pm tropical storm watches were issuedfor Saba, St Eustatius, St Maarten, and St Berthelemy. This means that tropical storm force conditions (sustained winds in excess of 39 miles per hour) were possible within the next 12 to 24 hours.


A tropical storm warning (meaning that conditions are imminent) may be issued early Tuesday with little or no notice for Antigua Barbuda, Anguilla, St Kitts, Nevis, and the British Virgin Islands.
 
At 11 pm the centre of Tropical Depression Three was located near 16.6 degrees north and 59.4 degrees west or about 160 miles east-southeast of Antigua. The depression is moing towards the west-northwest near 16 miles per hour and on this path was expected to move over or close to the northeast Leeward Islands Tuesday morning.
 
Maximum sustained winds are near 35 miles per hour with higher gust but little change in strength in forecast during the next 24 hours. Estimated central pressure is 1011 millibars


The depression is expected to bring gusty and stormy conditions to the northeastern Caribbean for a few hours on Tuesday morning before moving on.


It is very unlittle that this will become a tropical storm but in the event that it does, it will be named Chris.


The forecast this year is for up to 17 tropical storms forming. There have already been two for the year which started June 1 and runs to November 30. If this system does not develop into a tropical storm it will not be counted as one of the 17 systems predicted to form this hurricane season.