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Aug. 21, 2003 – A westward-moving tropical wave that brought cloudy skies to the Virgin Islands on Thursday has become the ninth tropical depression of the 2003 Atlantic Hurricane Season.
Tropical Depression 9 was upgraded from a tropical wave at 5 p.m. as the system passed to the south of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The system, which remained a couple of hundred miles south of the territory, was responsible for cloudy skies in evidence from late Thursday morning through sunset.
Tropical Depression 9, no longer a threat to the local islands, is expected to continue moving west-northwest through the Central and Western Caribbean the next few days. "The depression lost some of its tropical characteristics such as showers and thundershowers overnight Wednesday," meteorologist Alan Archer said, "but by Thursday morning the well-defined, mid-level circulation was again attaching itself to showers and thundershowers in the Eastern Caribbean."
Meanwhile, two other areas of disturbed weather line the Tropical Atlantic region, which extends from the Eastern Caribbean to the west coast of Africa.
The first is a small tropical wave along 50 degrees west longitude. "It doesn’t look like much, but all systems are being watched for development at this time in the season," Archer said Thursday afternoon.
The second is a tropical wave midway between Africa and the Lesser Antilles. Satellite photographs show that the wave, located to the southwest of the Cape Verde Islands on Thursday, is becoming better organized with the potential for slow development over the next two days.
The latter system looks impressive, Archer said, with "lots of thunderstorm activity and cloud banding" occurring. He said that forecast models suggest it will develop into a tropical system as it moves westward across the Tropical Atlantic.
Archer said on Thursday that the "flare-ups" in the Tropical Atlantic are consistent with the most active period of the hurricane season, which runs through Nov. 30. "We are going to see more and more activity as we near the peak of the season, which is thought to be around Sept. 11," he said.
So far in the 2003 season, which began on June 1, there have been nine tropical weather systems with five developing into named storms.

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