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Brief: Tropical Storm Ike Forms in Central Atlantic

Sept. 1, 2008 — Tropical Storm Ike formed Monday about halfway between Africa and the Lesser Antilles, and is expected to bulk up to hurricane strength in a day or so, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
The ninth named storm of the season was still a good 1,400 miles east of the Caribbean at 5 p.m. AST and was tracking west-northwest at nearly 16 mph. Sustained winds were at 50 mph — but not for long, the center said.
"Given the warm ocean along its path and the low shear, Ike is forecast to reach hurricane status in about 36 hours," said Lixion Avila, senior forecaster with the NHC, in a statement. And while the initial forecast path takes Ike to the north of the Virgin Islands, the storm is still three to four days away, complicating long-range predictions.
"The cyclone could turn more to the west or even west-southwest," Avila said — enough of a shift to set Virgin Islanders on edge.
The Atlantic hurricane season runs through Nov. 30, and September is statistically the busiest and most dangerous month for tropical cyclones.
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