By Lissette Gonzalez

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Tropical Depression #18 has strengthened and is now Tropical Storm Sam in the Central Atlantic.

It is expected to continue strengthening as it generally moves westward across the Atlantic and is forecast to become a hurricane by Friday and be near major hurricane intensity by the end of the weekend. Many computer models forecast it will move west, then west-northwest and then possibly turn to the northwest. There is a lot of uncertainty and it is still too soon to say. We will have plenty of time to closely monitor this system.

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Post-Tropical Cyclone Rose is now a remnant area of low pressure in the open waters of the Central Atlantic and the National Hurricane Center has issued the last advisory for it.

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Elsewhere in the tropics Thursday morning, a non-tropical low-pressure system, the remnants of Odette, was located a little more than 600 miles west-northwest of the westernmost Azores. The National Hurricane Center said this disturbance has a medium potential for cyclone development.

While showers and thunderstorms remain limited near the low, only a small increase in this activity could result in the formation of a subtropical or tropical cyclone while it moves generally southward over marginally warmer waters during the next day or two. Strong upper-level winds are expected to develop over the system by this weekend, which should then limit further development.

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And another tropical wave is expected to move off the west coast of Africa by the end of the weekend. The National Hurricane Center is giving this disturbance a low potential for cyclone development. Environmental conditions are forecast to be conducive for gradual development of this system as it moves westward at 10 to 15 mph over the far eastern Atlantic.

Lissette Gonzalez