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NOAA forecasts first hurricane of the 2023 Atlantic season

Riviera Maya, Q.R. — A system that has been monitored off the coast of Africa for several days is now forecast to gain hurricane status. On Monday morning, the National Hurricane Center out of Miami reported Tropical Depression Three (now Tropical Storm Bret) is expected to become a hurricane by Wednesday.

The system, which is currently moving westward, is forecast to reach category 1 status by Wednesday evening. Forecasters are predicting the system to hit the Lesser Antilles as a hurricane Thursday.

“Environmental conditions appear conducive for strengthening over the next few days, with a much warmer than normal ocean in the depression’s path, along with plentiful mid-level moisture and light shear. This should promote strengthening through midweek,” Weather Underground has reported.

They agency also noted that the storm’s trajectory remains unknown. While it is expected to move more toward the west-northwest, “there is considerable uncertainty in how much of a right turn could occur because it is somewhat tied to the intensity of the cyclone,” adding that “given the larger than usual uncertainty in the track forecast, it is too early to specify the location and magnitude of where these hazards could occur.

For now, residents in the Lesser Antilles, Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands are being told to monitor the system.

Mexico’s Servicio Meteorológico Nacional (SMN) is also closely monitoring the system. There is no forecast at this point it could affect Mexico.

If the NOAA prediction is right, the storm would be the first hurricane of the 2023 Atlantic season.