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AL.COM – The Hurricane Hunters on Wednesday morning were investigating a tropical disturbance nearing the Caribbean that could become Tropical Storm Matthew soon.
So far the Hunters found that the disturbance, called Invest 97L for now, had winds of 40-45 mph, which are tropical storm force, according to the National Hurricane Center. They are also looking to see if it has a closed circulation.
If the reconnaissance mission finds a closed circulation, a tropical storm will likely be declared. The hurricane center said the circulation was becoming more defined.
As of 7 a.m. CDT Wednesday, Invest 97L was located near Barbados and was moving west to northwest at 15 mph.
The hurricane center said 97L will pass over the Lesser Antilles later today, and move over the southeastern Caribbean Sea tonight and Thursday. It was forecast to bring tropical-storm-force winds and heavy rains to Guadeloupe, Dominica, Martinique, and St. Lucia today.
The hurricane center warned those in the Windward and southern Leeward Islands, Bonaire, Curacao, Aruba, and along the northern coast of South America to keep an eye on the storm, which forecasters said was in a favorable area for continued development.
The hurricane center was also watching another disturbance, but this one had a low chance of development.
An area of low pressure has been drifting westward over the southwestern Gulf for a while, and forecasters said the wave’s proximity to land and unfavorable winds should keep it from developing as it continues to move inland.