Tropical Storm Maria Emerges to Follow Hurricane Katia

Tropical Storm Maria has emerged from what once was Tropical Depression 14 after it reached storm strength in the eastern Atlantic on Wednesday.

Maria is the 13th named storm of the 2011 hurricane season.

“We’ve got the 13th named storm of the season and it’s in an environment that isn’t conducive to explosive strengthening,” said Dennis Feltgen, a spokesman for the National Hurricane Center, to Bloomberg. “In fact, we have it as a tropical storm through the end of the five-day forecast period.”

Maria developed east of Lesser Antilles as Hurricane Katia weakened further on its path around Bermuda. The maximum winds of the storm are moving at approximately 50 mph, according an advisory from the NHC.

According to the latest forecast, the storm should move to just north of Lesser Antilles on Saturday, north of Puerto Rico on Sunday and near the southern Bahamas on Monday. It is too early to state if the storm will hit the United States and pose a serious threat to coastal regions.

Maria is no longer being predicted to turn into a hurricane since it is being attacked by a wind shear.

Another low-pressure system which is located in the southwestern area of the Gulf of Mexico is on its way to becoming a tropical depression, according to NHC. The system will be investigated by an Air Force Reserve aircraft on Wednesday.

That system could cause a great near-term threat to oil and gas interests in the Gulf, according to Travis Hartman, a meteorologist at the commercial forecaster MDA EarthSat Weather in Gaithersburg, Md.

The hurricane center is giving the system a 60 percent chance of developing into a hurricane over the next two days.

Forecasters said that Hurricane Katia should steer clear of the United States as well as Bermuda.

The hurricane is expected to pass between Bermuda and the East Coast of the United States Wednesday night and Thursday morning as it continues to lose strength.