MIAMI, July 7 (Reuters) - A weather disturbance in the open Atlantic moving toward the Caribbean could develop into a tropical cyclone in the next couple of days, forecasters at the U.S. National Hurricane Center said on Sunday.
The mass of thunderstorms had a 70 percent chance of developing into a tropical depression or tropical storm during the next 48 hours and could prompt tropical storm warnings for parts of the Lesser Antilles, forecasters said.
It was located about 1,050 miles (1,690 km) east-southeast of the Windward Islands and moving west-northwest at 25 miles (40 km) per hour.
It was too early to know whether the system would threaten energy interests clustered in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Forecasting models show the disturbance is expected to move into the Caribbean.
The storm mass would become a tropical depression if it wraps around and develops a closed wind circulation. It would become Tropical Storm Chantal, the third named storm of the 2013 Atlantic hurricane season, should its winds reach 39 miles per hour (63 km per hour). (Reporting by Kevin Gray; Editing by Stacey Joyce)