The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Tuesday a tropical wave in the western Atlantic Ocean northeast of Puerto Rico had a high chance — greater than 50 percent — of becoming a tropical cyclone during the next 48 hours.
NHC said the system, located about 300 miles (483 km) northeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico, had become better organized and upper-level winds were expected to become more conducive for development over the next day or so as it moves west-northwest at about 20 miles per hour (32 km per hour).
A reconnaissance aircraft is scheduled to investigate the area this afternoon.
The NHC advisory said interests in the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands should monitor the progress of the system.
While private forecasters agreed the system has the potential to strengthen into a tropical depression or a tropical storm, most see it steering in a more northerly direction toward the East Coast.
Energy traders keep a close eye on storms that could enter the Gulf of Mexico and disrupt offshore U.S. oil and natural gas production or refinery operations along the coast.
Commodities traders likewise watch storms that could damage agriculture crops such as citrus and cotton in Florida and other states along the coast to Texas.
(Reporting by Joe Silha; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
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