Tropical Depression 5 has formed in the Central Atlantic, east of the Caribbean islands. Current model trends give it a chance to strengthen over the next few days as it moves west, with some models taking it slightly north of the islands, then moving it further west. The official NHC forecast brings a minimal hurricane to the northern Lesser Antilles, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic in 5 days. Beyond that, there is the potential for a threat to the SE United States in about a week's time, but that is well on down the line for now.
If TD 5 becomes Tropical Storm Emily, it would tie this season with about 5 others for the most activity in the Atlantic basin before the month of August; obviously, one more named storm would set the record outright for 2005. The wave behind TD5 along the African coast has the potential to also become a bit better organized over the next few days, but my hunch and the current activity may suggest that it would be the last such wave for awhile. Nevertheless, this season is shaping up to be a very active one, with warm waters and abnormally low shear across the entire basin.
Speaking in very general terms, mainly because I'm burnt out on Dennis, the most likely scenario is that TD5 will go out to sea beyond that, but that is still uncertain at the moment. Either way, I'd rather not think about it for a little while after Dennis. If the current trends hold we'll be forced to watch it, and it could affect the US.
Dennis is now down to tropical storm strength as it moves further into the heart of the US and is projected to slow down and likely cause a huge rain event in the Ohio River Valley. Damage reports from the Florida panhandle are likely to trickle in over the coming hours and days as crews reach the area and are able to survey damage and restore power to those affected by this major hurricane.
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