August 9, 2006

US sends plane to check on Atlantic tropical wave

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. Air Force is sending a plane
to investigate whether a strong tropical wave near the Windward
Islands has strengthened into a tropical depression or storm,
the U.S. National Hurricane Center said in a report Wednesday.

The U.S. Air Force Reserve Reconnaissance aircraft will
arrive in the afternoon at the wave located about 225 miles
east of the Windward Islands and moving westward at about 20 to
25 miles per hour, which had become more concentrated on
Wednesday morning.

All of the hurricane models show the wave crossing the
Windward Islands and moving toward the Dominican Republic and
Puerto Rico over the next several days.

The Windward Islands include Martinique, Saint Lucia,
Barbados, Saint Vincent, The Grenadines, Grenada, and Trinidad
and Tobago.

It is too soon to say whether the storm could get into the
Gulf of Mexico, where it could disrupt the U.S. oil and natural
gas production and refining.

If a tropical storm forms, the NHC would name it Debby.

The NHC did not expect a tropical storm to form anywhere
else through Thursday.