Year’s first tropical depression forms in Caribbean

MIAMI (BestGrowthStock) – The first tropical depression of the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season formed on Friday in the western Caribbean, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

The depression had sustained winds of 35 miles per hour (56 km per hour). It was centered 355 miles southeast of Cozumel, Mexico, and was moving west-northwest at 10 mph on a path that would take it over the Yucatan Peninsula and then into the Gulf of Mexico, where BP workers are battling to contain a massive oil spill.

The Mexican government issued a tropical storm warning for the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula from Chetumal northward to Cancun. A tropical storm warning means tropical storm conditions are expected within 36 hours.

Tropical depressions, swirling masses of thunderstorms, become named tropical storms when their sustained winds reach 39 mph. If this system reaches that benchmark, it would become Tropical Storm Alex.

It was too early to know whether the system could threaten oil and natural gas production in the Gulf, or whether it could affect clean-up operations from the BP oil disaster.

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov 30 and meteorologists predict this year will be a very active one. Hurricanes feed on warm water and the sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic are higher than usual this year.

Stock Market

(Reporting by Jane Sutton; editing by Todd Eastham)

Year’s first tropical depression forms in Caribbean