Tropical Storm Dean formed in the open Atlantic Tuesday, but remained far from land, forecasters said.
At 11 a.m., the storm was centered about 1,490 miles east of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean, about halfway across the ocean from Africa, according to the National Hurricane Center. It had top sustained winds of 40 mph, just above the threshold to be a named storm.
Dean was moving over increasingly warmer waters, where atmospheric conditions could create a favorable environment for intensification into a hurricane by Friday, forecasters said. It was cruising west at about 23 mph. Forecasters said it is too early to tell where Dean will go.
Hurricanes sustain winds of at least 74 mph.
The hurricane center also warned that storms moving over the south-central Gulf of Mexico were getting better organized and could soon develop into the season's fifth tropical depression. Reconnaissance aircraft were scheduled to check the area later in the afternoon if needed.