MIAMI The 15th tropical depression of the 2007
Atlantic hurricane season formed on Thursday in the northern
Atlantic Ocean and posed no immediate threat to land, the U.S.
National Hurricane Center said.
The depression, which could become Tropical Storm Noel if
its sustained winds reach 39 miles per hour (63 km per hour), a
scenario the hurricane center did not consider all that likely,
was 860 miles east of Bermuda by 5 p.m., forecasters said.
Most computer models suggested the system would head to the
northeast, away from the United States, the Caribbean islands
and the Gulf of Mexico.
Thirteen named tropical storms have already formed this
year, above the long-term average of 10 or 11 storms. One
depression never became a storm before hitting land.
Four became hurricanes, under the average of six. Two of
the four reached Category 5 status, the top rank on the
five-step Saffir-Simpson scale of hurricane intensity.
The six-month hurricane season officially runs until the
end of November.
(Additional reporting by Michael Christie)