9/7/11 (AEIN) A tropical depression in the Atlantic gained strength and became a tropical storm Wednesday morning, with top sustained winds of almost fifty miles/hour. It is the thirteenth named tropical storm for 2011, according to an advisory released by the National Hurricane Center.
Tropical Storm Maria is centered roughly 1,965 kilometers (1,220 miles) east of the Lesser Antilles, which include Montserrat and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It is traveling to the west at thirty-seven kilometers per hour (23 miles). Winds with tropical storm force reach a maximum of 45 miles from the center.
The storm did not immediately threaten any inhabited lands, although it could affect vessels at sea. As of late Wednesday morning, no new warnings or advisories had been issued for islands in the Atlantic Ocean, although Bermuda remained under a Tropical Storm Watch triggered by the approach of Hurricane Katia.
Forecasters predict that Tropical Storm Maria will maintain its westward motion for at least the next forty-eight hours. This puts the storm on track to potentially reach the Caribbean islands by this weekend. It may also intensify slightly during this time period.