By Dave Hennen, CNN Meteorologist and Zoe Sottile, CNN
(CNN) — A tropical storm named Bret has formed over the central Atlantic Ocean and will likely become a hurricane on Wednesday, the National Hurricane Center said Monday afternoon.
The storm now has winds of 40 mph and continues to move quickly to the west, according to the center.
The hurricane center first identified the storm as a tropical depression a little over 1,400 miles east of the Windward Islands in a Monday morning update.
“Environmental conditions appear conducive for strengthening over the next few days, with a much warmer than normal ocean in the depression’s path, along with plentiful mid-level moisture and light shear,” the center said.
The storm is forecast to become a hurricane on Wednesday. It is still too early to tell what impacts, if any, it will have on the US mainland.
The storm could impact the Leeward or Windward islands later this week. The Leeward Islands, located where the northeastern Caribbean Sea meets the western Atlantic, include the Virgin Islands, Saint Martin, and Antigua and Barbuda. To the south are the Windward Islands: Dominica, Grenada, Martinique and others.
Everyone in the Lesser Antilles, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands should “closely monitor updates to the forecast” and “have their hurricane plan in place,” the hurricane center tweeted Monday morning.
The storm is forecast to bring “a risk of flooding from heavy rainfall, hurricane-force winds, and dangerous storm surge and waves” as it moves across the Lesser Antilles on Thursday and Friday as a hurricane, it said.
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