So of course, the next questions are: How strong will this become and where will it head? Neither of those questions can be answered for sure yet; its still a very young system, being upgraded just today. However, I do think there is a good bet it will become a hurricane, possibly a "major" one. Some of the "experts" from Accuweather.com have been saying Florida looks like a prime target. But in reality, its impossible to tell with any degree of certainty.
Wait a second...a "major" hurricane? What does that mean? Since hurricane season is heating up, its a good time to review the "Saffir-Simpson Scale," which is used to measure hurricanes based on wind speeds. There are 5 categories of hurricanes, 1 being the weakest, 5 the most powerful and rarest. Anything with a category 3 or higher is considered a "major" hurricane. Here is the complete scale, just focusing on categories and wind speeds:
- Category 1: Winds between 74-95 mph
- Category 2: Winds between 96-100 mph
- Category 3*: Winds between 111-130 mph
- Category 4*: Winds between 131-155
- Category 5*: Winds over 156 mph
Now, these winds are sustained winds. Sustained winds are a 1-minute average. Individual gusts within the hurricane can far exceed the sustained wind speeds.
Keep checking back for updates on TD-4, which will like be named either "Dean" or "Erin" depending on another area of disturbed weather in the Western Gulf of Mexico.