September 1, 2008 / 3:02 PM / 10 years ago

New tropical depression forms over open Atlantic

MIAMI (Reuters) - A new tropical depression formed between Africa and the Leeward Islands on Monday as powerful Hurricane Gustav battered New Orleans and the U.S. Gulf Coast and Tropical Storm Hanna swirled to the east of Miami.

The depression, which would be called Tropical Storm Ike once its maximum sustained winds reach 39 miles per hour (64 km per hour), was 1,470 miles east of the Leeward Islands at 11 a.m. EDT (1500 GMT), the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

The depression’s maximum sustained winds were already near 35 mph and it was expected to become the ninth tropical storm of the already busy Atlantic hurricane season later on Monday, the Miami-based hurricane center said.

The center said, meanwhile, that the government of the Bahamas issued a hurricane watch on Monday due to Tropical Storm Hanna, which was 40 miles north of Mayaguana Island in the southeastern Bahamas. at 11 a.m. EDT.

Hanna’s maximum sustained winds have increased to near 60 mph, according to the hurricane center, which warned earlier that it could easily reach hurricane strength before making landfall somewhere along the southeast U.S. coast late this week.

Reporting by Tom Brown, editing by Chris Wilson

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