The National Hurricane Center is monitoring two systems in the Atlantic Ocean that could develop into more severe storms. One of the systems, Tropical Storm Bret, is expected to soon become the first hurricane of the 2023 Atlantic season, while another will likely become a tropical depression. 

Bret, currently a tropical storm with maximum sustained winds of 40 mph, is expected to strengthen in the coming days. 

“Bret could become a hurricane in a couple of days,” the National Hurricane Center said in its update on Tuesday morning. If that does happen, Bret — which is currently the second named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season — would be the first named hurricane of the season. 

The storm is expected to approach the Lesser Antilles islands “by late this week,” the national forecasting service said. The Lesser Antilles are comprised of numerous island nations and territories, including the U.S. Virgin Islands, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, and Trinidad and Tobago, among others. 

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“Bret is forecast to initially strengthen and then move across the Lesser Antilles near hurricane intensity on Thursday and Friday, bringing a risk of flooding from heavy rainfall, strong winds, and dangerous storm surge and waves,” the National Hurricane Center said Tuesday morning. “Given the larger than usual uncertainty in the track forecast, it is too early to specify the location and magnitude of where these hazards could occur. However, everyone in the Lesser Antilles, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands should closely monitor updates to the forecast for Bret and have their hurricane plan in place.”

The forecast for Tropical Storm Bret as of early Tuesday morning shows the system developing into a hurricane between Wednesday and Thursday. 

NOAA/National Hurricane Center

The second system, dubbed AL93, is a tropical wave “several hundred miles” away from the Cabo Verde Islands. The National Hurricane Center said Tuesday morning that conditions surrounding that system appear as though a “tropical depressional will likely form during the next couple of days.” As of 8 a.m. ET, there’s a 70% chance of that happening within 48 hours. 

According to NOAA, tropical waves are when long areas of relatively low pressure move east to west across the tropics. These systems can lead to tropical cyclones. It becomes a tropical cyclone when maximum sustained winds hit 38 mph. 

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Weather Channel Meteorologist Stephanie Abrams told “CBS Mornings” on Tuesday that Bret is a “unique” storm. 

“We usually don’t get our second named storm until mid-July. Also, it formed far out in the Atlantic, where storms usually get their start much later,” she said. “And the first hurricane of the season doesn’t typically happen until August.” 

Last year’s first named hurricane, Danielle, didn’t form until September

The reason for this early start is two-fold, Abrams said – low shear and warm waters. Both of these factors have become more present this year with El Niño’s return.

“Things can change quickly so the time to prepare is now,” she said. 

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