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Behind Hurricane Isaac, forecasters watching two storms

Hurricane Isaac was battering the greater New Orleans area Wednesday morning, but meanwhile, forecasters are watching two other developing storms. One doesn't appear likely to impact land.

Wind speeds became sufficiently strong in one storm late Tuesday that it earned the name Tropical Storm Kirk. Kirk was about 2,000 miles east-northeast of the Virgin Islands as of about 5 a.m. Wednesday with maximum sustained winds of 45 mph.

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Kirk isn't expected to make landfall, but rather spin toward the North Atlantic before dissipating in cold waters, according to the National Hurricane Center.

About 1,000 miles southeast of Kirk, another tropical system is brewing. The hurricane center's forecasters give the storm a 50 percent chance of developing into a tropical storm within the next two days. Conditions around the storm are expected to be conducive to tropical cyclone formation, with warm equatorial waters feeding it.

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Kirk's formation means there have been 11 named storms so far this year. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is predicting 12 to 17 named storms over the season, and five to eight hurricanes.

There have been four hurricanes so far this season, including Isaac, though none have been considered "major", reaching categories 3, 4 or 5 on the Saffir-Simpson scale. NOAA is expecting 2-3 major hurricanes before the season is over in November.

Have a weather question? E-mail me at sdance@baltsun.com or tweet to @MdWeather.


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