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A tropical depression in the open Atlantic could become the season's first hurricane

National Hurricane Center

A tropical depression formed in the open waters of the subtropical Atlantic Ocean on Thursday morning and could become the season's first hurricane.

As of Thursday at 5 a.m., Tropical Depression Five was located about 975 miles west of the Azores and was nearly stationary, drifting to the east-northeast — and away from the U.S. — at 2 mph. Maximum sustained winds were 35 mph with higher gusts.

Megan Borowski, with the Florida Public Radio Emergency Network, says conditions are favorable for it to develop into Danielle.

"This system is far from any land mass, located in the subtropical Atlantic waters over 1,000 miles east of the United States," Borowski said. "Now in this area, ocean waters are warm and environmental conditions are very conducive for strengthening. We could have a named tropical storm later today and this could become the first hurricane of the season."

Forecasters are monitoring two other areas of potential development in the tropics.

One, near the lesser Antilles, will encounter favorable conditions and could become a tropical depression over the next few days.

The other, off the west coast of Africa, could become a short-lived tropical depression by the end of the week, but conditions are not favorable for further development.

Borowski says neither pose an immediate threat to land.

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Carl Lisciandrello