Tropical Storm Gert, the seventh named storm of the Atlantic season, could become a short-lived hurricane later in the week as it heads to sea, National Hurricane Center forecasters said early Monday.
Gert powered up over the weekend as it rolled northward off the Florida coast. Early Monday, it was located parallel to North Florida, about 475 miles west, southwest of Bermuda. Sustained winds reached 45 mph as it crept to the northwest at about 9 mph, forecasters said.
By Wednesday, forecasters said the compact storm could become a hurricane when wind shear dies down. However, returning winds and cooler ocean temperatures are expected to weaken Gert again as it turns to the northeast and heads toward the North Atlantic.
If it becomes a hurricane, Gert would be the second of the season. Last week, Franklin became the first hurricane when it made landfall Thursday as a Cat 1 storm in Veracruz, Mexico.
The Atlantic season is now entering its busiest months, when historically more hurricanes appear. Hurricane forecasters called for an above average season in May and last week revised their forecast up slightly after determining conditions in the Caribbean and Tropical Atlantic will likely churn out more storms than they previously expected.
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