Tropical Storm Dorian is expected to weaken slightly as it moves across the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean toward the Caribbean, forecasters at the U.S. National Hurricane Center said on Friday.
Dorian, the fourth named storm of the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, was centered about 1,291 miles (2085 km) east of the Northern Leeward Islands and was moving west-northwest at 21 miles per hour (33 kph). It had top sustained winds of 50 mph (85 kph), the hurricane center said.
Dorian posed no immediate threat to the Gulf of Mexico, where U.S. oil and gas operations are clustered.
The storm is becoming less organized and is forecast to lose some strength in the next 24 hours, the center said. Forecast models show Dorian will continue to move west, and is expected to pass north of Puerto Rico on Monday.
Dorian could then take a path between the Bahamas and Cubaby Wednesday, raising the possibility it could bring rains and winds to the southeastern United States late next week, although its track remained uncertain.
“It is too early to say with confidence for next week where Dorian will track and what the strength will be,” said AccuWeather.com hurricane expert Dan Kottlowski.
In Florida, authorities worried about rising water levels at Lake Okeechobee, the state’s largest freshwater lake, have started to drain some water from the lake as the active months of the Atlantic-Caribbean hurricane season approach.
The hurricane season officially begins on June 1 and typically peaks between August and mid-October.