Early this morning, the National Hurricane Center named the 2013 hurricane season's fifth storm: Erin. The swirling disturbance was upgraded to a tropical storm as its winds reached 40 mph (64 kph).
NASA satellites had earlier spotted a "hot tower" in the growing storm, a tall cumulonimbus cloud carrying heat 9 miles (15 kilometers) into the troposphere, the lower layer of the atmosphere. Storms with hot towers are more likely to intensify, according the NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. At 11 a.m. EDT, Tropical Storm Erin was about 115 miles (185 km) west-southwest of the island of Brava in the Cape Verde Islands. Between 13 and 20 named storms, which include tropical storms and hurricanes, are expected for the 2013 hurricane season.
Forecasters are also closely watching a tropical weather system approaching the Gulf of Mexico that could cause flooding in the Southeast United States this weekend, Accuweather.com reported. If the storm strengthens, it could head north toward Louisiana. But if it weakens, the rainfall would likely hit Mexico or Texas, models predict. Read more: Hurricane Season 2013