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Atlantic will produce tropical storm soon, meteorologists say

But two researchers say it will be a slightly reduced hurricane season, partly because of a developing El Niño.

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The tropics are about to heat up – in a stormy sort of way.

The Atlantic's first tropical storm of the year will be named shortly, meteorologists say. And at least two more storms could form in the next two to three weeks, according to some computer forecasts. What this means is that residents living along the East Coast will need to pay attention to the weather forecast.

"We will be getting to the peak of the tropical season over the next two months," says Brian Edwards, a meteorologist at AccuWeather.com. "By [Wednesday] morning, we could have our first named storm."

The first name for a storm this year will be Ana.

Currently, a storm system is a few hundred miles southwest of the Cape Verde Islands, which are off the coast of Africa. Even if it becomes tropical storm Ana, it's not expected to become a full-fledged hurricane. "At this point, it probably would not, but it's too early to tell," Mr. Edwards says.

However, to the east of what could become Ana is another, more potent tropical wave – a low-pressure zone over Africa that should emerge into the Atlantic in the next 12 to 24 hours. "Once it's off the coast, it enters an area that is favorable to development," he says.

The second system would be entering an Atlantic that is considerably more humid as a result of the first system. This is one reason that some AccuWeather computer models show a powerful storm developing in the next 12 to 15 days. "Some of the models have it going up the East Coast. Some have it going out to sea," says Edwards.

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