Aug. 28, 2005 While most eyes are on the catastrophic Category 5 Hurricane Katrina, now bearing down on the Gulf Coast with its eye on New Orleans, V.I. residents should look to the east at Tropical Depression 13. It formed Sunday afternoon out in the Atlantic Ocean.
However, it doesn't currently appear that Tropical Depression 13 will be that unlucky for the Virgin Islands. The current track takes it north of the Virgin Islands Wednesday into Thursday, National Weather Service meteorologist Brad Diehl said at 5 p.m. Sunday.
"But you should never let your guard down," he said, adding that even if the center stays to the north as predicted, the territory could still get heavy rain.
Diehl said it was just too early to say exactly where the storm will track.
As of 5 p.m. Sunday, Tropical Depression 13 is centered at 15.4 degrees north latitude and 46.8 degrees west longitude. Its current position puts it 965 miles east of the Lesser Antilles.
The storm has winds of 30 mph with gusts to 40 mph and is moving to the west-northwest at 12 mph.
The barometric pressure stands at 1007 millibars or 29.73 inches.
If Tropical Depression 13 becomes a named storm as anticipated, it will be called Lee.
Colorado State University hurricane forecaster William Gray said in his Aug. 5 update that he and his team expect 20 named storms for the 2005 hurricane season. If his prediction comes to fruition, the season will also see Maria, Nate, Ophelia, Philippe, Rita, Stan, Tammy and Vince. The list does not include a name that starts with the letter U.
Hurricane Katrina is the 11th named storm this season. Tropical Depression 10 did not reach named storm status.
This season has seen seven tropical storms and four hurricanes.
Diehl also said another wave just popped off the African coast. Its fate, at this point in time, is unknown. Diehl pointed out that waves come off every three to five days, but only a few of them develop into storms.
The season runs until Nov. 30 and generally peaks in mid-September.
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