Watching The Tropics

It's a long way from North Carolina, but it's worth noting.

A tropical depression formed thousands of miles from the Caribbean islands in the far eastern Atlantic.

At 5 a.m. Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center was reporting that the fourth depression of the Atlantic hurricane season was centered about 855 miles west-southwest of the southernmost Cape Verde Islands, and moving west at near 20 mph. It was still about 1,900 miles east of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean.

Forecasters say maximum sustained winds were near 35 mph, and it could become Tropical Storm Dean if the winds strengthen to at least 39 mph, which is the threshold for a named storm.

Dean would be the fourth named storm of the season, which forecasters expect to be busier than average. Federal government forecasters last week said up to nine hurricanes and up to 16 tropical storms are projected to form.

August is typically the start of the most active months of Atlantic weather.