Tropical storm Bret forms near the Bahamas, watch in effect

July 18th, 2011 - 8:06 am ICT by BNO News  

MIAMI (BNO NEWS) — Tropical storm Bret formed north of the Bahamas on early Sunday evening, forecasters said, prompting a tropical storm watch for some islands nearby.

As of 8 p.m. EDT (0000 GMT Monday), the center of tropical storm Bret was located about 100 miles (165 kilometers) northwest of Great Abaco Island, which is part of the Abaco Islands in the northern Bahamas. It is moving toward the south near two miles (four kilometers) per hour, with little movement expected until Monday.

Maximum sustained winds of Bret are near 40 miles (65 kilometers) per hour, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC). Although some strengthening is expected, Bret is not expected to become a hurricane.

As a result, the government of the Bahamas has issued a tropical storm watch for Grand Bahama Island and the Abaco Islands. However, most of the storm is expected to remain away from the islands as it will eventually make a turn to the northeast and move away from the Bahamas.

Bret is the second named storm of the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season, following Tropical Storm Arlene which impacted the Yucat√°n Peninsula and Mexico in late June, killing at least 25 people and injuring others.

According to figures released in May, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is expecting an above-normal hurricane season in the Atlantic this year. The outlook calls for 12 to 18 named storms, with six to ten becoming hurricanes and three to six expected to become a major hurricane (category 3 or higher).

An average Atlantic hurricane season produces 11 named storms, with six becoming hurricanes and two becoming major hurricanes. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30, with peak activity in September.

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