Tropical Depression 7 formed in the Central Atlantic on Thursday afternoon and for now is projected to pass south of Florida and grow no stronger than a tropical storm over the next five days.
That, however, is a long-range prediction, subject to large errors.
At 11 p.m. on Thursday, the system was about 1,045 miles east of the Windward Islands, moving quickly west at 20 mph with sustained winds of 35 mph.
It's expected to strengthen into Tropical Storm Gordon by Friday and steadily intensify close to hurricane strength by early next week.
Under the forecast track, the system would approach the Lesser Antilles on Saturday, move south of Puerto Rico on Sunday and arrive south of Jamaica on Tuesday - on a course similar to that of Hurricane Ernesto.
The hurricane center also is monitoring another disturbance near Africa, giving it a 20 percent chance of developing into a depression or storm over the next two days.
Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Ernesto is now 85 miles south-southwest of Veracruz, Mexico. It was moving westward at 14 mph with 40 mph winds, pelting the country's southeast coastline with heavy rains.
The system grew into a hurricane on Tuesday before striking Mexico’s Yucatan on Wednesday. It then weakened into a tropical storm over land.
Including the remnants of Tropical Storm Florence, in the Atlantic north of the Lesser Antilles, the hurricane center was monitoring four systems on Thursday afternoon.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times