Tropical Depression Forms in Eastern Atlantic

A tropical depression formed Monday in the far eastern Atlantic, the fourth of the Atlantic hurricane season, meteorologists said.

At 11 a.m. EDT, the depression was centered about 520 miles west-southwest of the southernmost Cape Verde Islands, off the coast of Africa, and moving west at near 21 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. It was still about 2,000 miles east of the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean.

Its maximum sustained wind speed was about 35 mph, forecasters said. It would be named Tropical Storm Dean if its sustained wind strengthens to at least 39 mph, the threshold for a named storm.

Hurricane forecasters expect this year's hurricane season to be busier than average. Last week, they said up to 16 tropical storms are likely to form, with nine of them becoming hurricanes.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, but August typically marks the start of the most active period. Last year, there were 10 tropical storms in the Atlantic and just two made landfall in the United States.