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Tropical Storm Fiona forms over central Atlantic

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Tropical Storm Fiona has strengthened into the sixth named storm of the season. (NOAA)

Tropical Storm Fiona has strengthened into the sixth named storm of the season. (NOAA)

MIAMI — The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Tropical Storm Fiona has formed over the central Atlantic Ocean, becoming the season’s sixth named storm.

The storms maximum sustained winds Wednesday are near 40 mph (65 kph). Fiona remains over open waters and is not currently a threat to land.

The depression is centered about 920 miles (1,480 kilometers) west of the Cabo Verde Islands and is moving west-northwest near 16 mph (26 kph).

On Aug. 11 the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that the 2016 Atlantic Hurricane Season is expected to be the most active since 2012.

Forecasters expect a 70 percent chance of 12-17 named storms for the season. The seasonal average is 12 named storms.

“We’ve raised the numbers because some conditions now in place are indicative of a more active hurricane season, such as El Niño ending, weaker vertical wind shear and weaker trade winds over the central tropical Atlantic, and a stronger west African monsoon,” said Gerry Bell, Ph.D., lead seasonal hurricane forecaster at NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center. “However, less conducive ocean temperature patterns in both the Atlantic and eastern subtropical North Pacific, combined with stronger wind shear and sinking motion in the atmosphere over the Caribbean Sea, are expected to prevent the season from becoming extremely active.”

To date, there have been five named storms with four making landfall.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.