ATLANTIC OCEAN (KPEL News) - In the wake of Hurricane Lee, which has taken a northwestern turn and appears on track to avoid most of the U.S. coast, a pair of tropical systems off the coast of Africa have the potential to merge, according to very early projections.

The 2023 hurricane season has picked up steam as multiple storms have begun forming in the Atlantic basin. The first half of the season was relatively quiet, but an increase in systems and the higher-than-normal surface temperatures of the ocean have made more and bigger storms over the course of August and into September.

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Invest 97L, a little ways off the coast of Africa, and a follow-up system just behind it, will be the next systems meteorologists look at, and there are some concerns the two could even merge.

Both systems have a low chance of further development over the next seven days.

According to The Weather Channel's Jim Cantore, these projections are very early and while it is too soon to say that they will be a major storm, "There might be something behind Lee that could warrant our interest."

The longest-range projects have this storm also making a northward turn and heading up near the U.S. East Coast, but most experts warn that it is far too early to make those kinds of projections.

Hurricane Lee

Hurricane Lee, meanwhile, has lost some power as it heads north. It is now down to a Category 3 storm and its path may have it making some form of landfall, possibly near Maine.

Lee reached its peak last week when it rose to a Category 5 storm, making it the most powerful storm of the season so far. Margot, a tropical storm out in the Atlantic basin, is also expected to avoid landfall before fading.

Remaining Storm Names

The list of names used for storms is rotated every year. This year, we've already seen storms named Arlene, Bret, Cindy, Don, Emily, Franklin, Gert, Harold, Idalia, Jose, Katia, Lee, and Margot.

The remaining names for the year are Nigel, Ophelia, Philippe, Rina, Sean, Tammy, Vince, and Whitney.

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The hurricane season officially began on June 1 and will run through November.

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