A coastal storm that threatened to become Tropical Storm Irma has moved off shore — and a strengthening system in the Atlantic has earned that name, instead.
The system that passed through the Mid-Atlantic on Tuesday brought nearly 3 inches of rain and 40-mph gusts to Ocean City, but it never organized enough to become Tropical Storm Irma, as meteorologists had expected. To warrant a storm name, a system has to have a precise set of tropical characteristics, which include sustained wind speeds of at least 39 mph.
The storm, in conjunction with a low-pressure system moving down from the Great Lakes, brought about three-quarters of an inch of rain to Baltimore.
As it departs — and as they continue to track Tropical Storm Harvey, now over Louisiana — meteorologists are looking ahead to the next system.
Tropical Storm Irma formed Wednesday morning several hundred miles west of the Cape Verde Islands, off the West African coast. National Hurricane Center forecasters said the storm could become a hurricane by Friday.
It will take a week for Irma to reach any land in the Caribbean or on the East Coast, and meteorologists will be watching for any changes in its expected track.
Possible paths include threats to the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean, the Carolinas and Bermuda, according to AccuWeather.com.
Weather Channel meteorologists say conditions are favorable across the central Atlantic for the storm to strengthen, but that it's "far too early to determine" if, where or when the storm could affect land.