Tropical Depression Seven formed in the far eastern Atlantic Ocean on Wednesday, one of three systems the U.S. National Hurricane Center was monitoring, but none were so far expected to threaten energy production in the Gulf of Mexico.
The NHC said it could become a tropical storm later in the day. The system, about 430 miles west of the southernmost Cape Verde Islands, was packing winds of 35 miles per hour and moving west at 17 mph.
If the depression strengthens to sustained winds of 39 mph and becomes a storm, it will be named Earl.
Computer models showed the system tracking mostly to the northwest away from oil and gas production in the Gulf of Mexico, but strengthening to a powerful Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale, with winds of 100 mph by day 5 of the outlook.
Meanwhile, the NHC continued to monitor a weak low pressure system over the western Gulf of Mexico which had only a 10 percent chance to become a tropical cyclone during the next 48 hours.
Computer models did not show any tracks for that system.
The NHC said Hurricane Danielle was packing winds near 85 mph, a Category 1 storm, as it moved west by northwest in the Atlantic.
Models showed Danielle regaining Category 2 strength within 48 hours as it continued moving north to the east of Bermuda.
(Reporting by Eileen Moustakis; Editing by John Picinich)
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