Tropical Depression 4 may strengthen before approaching Leeward Islands

Tropical Depression Four, which formed over the south-central Atlantic Wednesday evening, may become Tropical Storm Don prior to swinging north of the Leeward Islands.

The tropical system will take a west-northwestward path over tropical waters through this weekend. The system is being guided by a clockwise flow associated with a large area of high pressure over the central Atlantic to the north.

Fluctuation in strength of the system is likely. The system may slip below tropical depression status and may become a tropical storm over the next several days.

Into Friday, there is a chance the system becomes a tropical storm.

"Beyond Friday, some weakening of the system is likely," according to AccuWeather Meteorologist Brett Rossio.

"The system will move into a zone of dry air and strong southwesterly winds at mid-levels of the atmosphere."

The core of thunderstorms associated with torrential rain and strong winds will steer north of the Leeward Islands and Puerto Rico this weekend. However, it is possible for squalls to push westward across the islands well south of the center.

The system could still become strong enough to raise seas and surf around the islands. As a result, bathers and boaters should exercise caution.

In the long term, the strength of the system is questionable.

If the system survives the zone of dry air and disruptive winds as a tropical depression or storm, it could be drawn northward between Bermuda and the United States Atlantic coast next week.

In this farther north scenario, "the environment northeast of the Bahamas may allow strengthening," Rossio said.

Should the system remain weak, a more westward path is likely during next week.

If the system becomes shredded by the dry air and strong winds north of the Leeward Island, a poorly organized feature may drift westward across the Bahamas, Cuba and the Florida Peninsula with spotty showers and thunderstorms next week.

All interests from the northern Islands of the Caribbean to the Bahamas, Bermuda and the southeastern U.S. should monitor the progress of Tropical Depression Four.