Forecasters monitoring tropical depression far ESE of Big Island

Forecasters are keeping tabs on a tropical depression that formed Wednesday far east-southeast of Hilo.

Tropical Depression 3E was located about 1,400 miles east-southeast of Hilo, traveling west-northwest at 9 mph and packing 35 mph winds as of 5 a.m. Thursday, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. The center will monitor the system until it crosses over into the Central Pacific possibly later this week at which point Honolulu-based Central Pacific Hurricane Center forecasters will assume responsibility.

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The tropical cyclone was expected to strengthen during the next 24 hours, possibly being upgraded to a tropical storm by Thursday evening, according to the Miami-based forecasters. If that occurs, the storm would be named Boris.

Thereafter, dry air and gradually decreasing sea surface temperatures along the forecast track are likely to cause weakening, forecasters said. The system is expected to be downgraded to a remnant low this weekend, shortly after crossing into the Central Pacific basin, which is where Hawaii is located.

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Forecasters this season called for near- to below-normal tropical cyclone activity within the Central Pacific with two to six tropical cyclones — a category that includes depressions, storms and hurricanes — expected to pass through the basin between June 1 and Nov. 30.

The basin, which normally sees four to five cyclones, spans an area north of the equator from 140 degrees west longitude to the International Date Line. The number of storms has ranged from zero, most recently as 1979, to as many as 16 in 2015.

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