(Bloomberg) — A tropical depression has spun up in the Atlantic far from land, and it could become the season’s sixth named storm as its winds grow in strength Wednesday.
The system, with winds of 35 miles per hour, was about 805 miles east of the Leeward Islands, the chain that separates the Caribbean Sea from the deep Atlantic, according to an advisory from the US National Hurricane Center. The storm is moving west and could threaten the islands, as well as Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic over the weekend.
Tropical storm warnings and watches may be issued for the system later, and if named, it would become storm Fiona. Atlantic tropical storms and hurricanes are closely watched because they can shake energy markets if they get into the Gulf of Mexico, and Florida, which is often hit, is the largest producer of orange juice in the US. Even a weak tropical storm traveling though offshore production near Louisiana and Texas can disrupt supplies of oil and natural gas for days.
So far, five storms have formed across the Atlantic, with the season getting off to a slower start than many forecasts had anticipated. September to October is typically among the most active times for Atlantic storms.
A tropical depression is the weakest category in the classification of storms that also includes tropical storms and hurricanes.