Tropical Storm Erika advances westward in Atlantic

Tropical Storm Erika has formed in the Atlantic and could hit the Bahamas as a hurricane later this week, US forecasters warned Tuesday.

The storm is 605 miles (975 kilometers) east of Antigua and moving quickly westward, the National Hurricane Center said.

With maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour (65 kilometers per hour), it has sparked storm watches on several islands, including Antigua, Montserrat and Barbuda.

A tropical storm watch indicates that tropical storm conditions are possible within 48 hours.

"On the forecast track, the center of Erika will be near the Leeward Islands Wednesday night and early Thursday," the Miami-based center said.

The storm was expected to drop two to four inches on the Leeward Islands Thursday.

On its current path, Erika -- expected to strengthen over the coming days -- could reach the Bahamas as a hurricane over the weekend, according to the NHC. 

Erika comes on the heels of Danny, the first hurricane of the Atlantic season, which dissipated Monday as it reached the Caribbean.

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