Active Tropics in the Atlantic as Peak Hurricane Season Begins

ABC News(NEW YORK) — There are currently two tropical depressions churning in the Atlantic Basin. Tropical Depression 8 is near the Outer Banks and Tropical Depression 9 is entering the Gulf of Mexico. Both are expected to become tropical storms by Tuesday. In addition, there is also Atlantic’s first major hurricane of the season, Gaston, which is no threat to land.

These tropical systems are creating rough surf and dangerous rip currents for the next several days up and down the East Coast; alerts are up from Florida to Long Island!

Active Tropics in the Atlantic as Peak Hurricane Season BeginsABC NewsTropical Depression 8 formed on Sunday off the coast of North Carolina and currently has maximum sustained winds of 35 mph. It is trying to organize and could strengthen into a tropical storm within the next 24 hours. The current forecast track brings the potential topical storm near North Carolina's Outer Banks on Tuesday. By Wednesday, it is racing back out to sea away from the coast.

Active Tropics in the Atlantic as Peak Hurricane Season BeginsABC NewsTuesday is the primary day for impacts to be felt in coastal North Carolina from this system, and a tropical storm warning is in effect from Cape Overlook to Oregon Inlet. The main hazards are gusty winds, rip currents, high waves, and heavy rain accumulations locally up to 5 inches for the Outer Banks.

Active Tropics in the Atlantic as Peak Hurricane Season BeginsABC NewsTropical Depression 9 also formed on Sunday and is currently over Northern Cuba, bringing torrential rain there with some of that moisture making its way into the Florida Keys. Right now, it has max sustained winds at 35 mph and is moving west-northwest at 5 mph. Cuba may see up to a foot of rain through Wednesday, which could cause flash flooding and mudslides. Also, because of its close vicinity to Florida, Tampa to Miami could also see up to a half-foot of rain (locally 6 inches or more) through Wednesday.

Here’s the current forecast track; you can see that Tropical Depression 9 is also expected to become a tropical storm by Tuesday, and will continue a strengthening trend in the Gulf of Mexico before turning around and heading toward the Gulf Coast of Florida.

Active Tropics in the Atlantic as Peak Hurricane Season BeginsABC NewsAs of right now, there are no tropical storm watches or warnings anywhere in the state of Florida. Tropical storm conditions are possible there by Thursday, so Florida residents along the Gulf Coast need to continue to monitor this system.

Active Tropics in the Atlantic as Peak Hurricane Season BeginsABC NewsHurricane Gaston has become the first major hurricane in the Atlantic Basin this season. It is still considered a "fish storm" and is no threat to any landmasses. At the time, there are no hurricane threats anywhere in the U.S. Gaston has weakened from a Category 3 to a Category 2 hurricane and will continue to weaken as it moves out to sea over the next few days.

Active Tropics in the Atlantic as Peak Hurricane Season BeginsABC NewsAnother area of tropical interest this week is Hawaii. Currently TWO hurricanes, named Madeline and Lester, are threatening the islands one after another later this week into the weekend. The first hurricane we will be tracking is Madeline, which is moving west-northwest with maximum sustained winds at 115 mph. The forecast track takes the Hurricane Madeline just south of Hilo during the Wednesday-Thursday time frame as a Category 1. After Madeline has passed, Hurricane Lester is lurking not too far behind, and could also threaten Hawaii this weekend.

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Charlottesville mayor to issue statement on Robert E. Lee statue

Charlottesville mayor to issue statement on Robert E. Lee statueMark Wilson/Getty Images(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) -- Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer will issue a statement Friday afternoon after canceling a news conference at which he was expected to "make a major announcement" regarding the local statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee and the legacy of the woman killed during a protest sparked by the city's plans to remove the statue.

His news conference had been scheduled for noon on Friday, but the mayor tweeted Friday morning that "we are canceling today’s press conference and instead issuing a statement in the afternoon."

FYI all: we are canceling today’s press conference and instead issuing a statement in the afternoon. Stay tuned.

— Mike Signer (@MikeSigner) August 18, 2017

FYI, the reason for the change is we decided a statement rather than a press event was the best medium for the ideas I want to convey today.

— Mike Signer (@MikeSigner) August 18, 2017

The statement comes six days after a Unite the Right rally sparked by Charlottesville's plan to remove the Lee statue from a local park turned deadly.

The rally was attended by neo-Nazis, skinheads and Ku Klux Klan members. They were met with hundreds of counterprotesters, which led to street brawls and violent clashes.

A driver plowed into counterprotesters, killing Heather Heyer, 32, and injuring several others. The suspected driver is in custody, facing charges including second-degree murder.

Despite the "painful" event, "we’re not going to let them define us,” Signer told ABC News earlier this week of the agitators.

"They’re not going to tell our story," he said. "We’re going to tell our story. And outsiders -- their time has come and gone. This city is back on their feet, and we’re going to be better than ever despite this."

Signer compared his hopes for Charlottesville's recovery to the aftermath of the Charleston, South Carolina, church shooting in June 2015 that killed nine people. The gunman in that attack said he wanted to start a race war, but the tragedy instead united the city.

"There’s a memorial right now in front of Charlottesville City Hall that’s flowers and a heart that talks about the love that we have here. Those are the images that are going to replace these horrific ones from this weekend. That’s the work that we have as a country," Signer said.

"That’s what happened in Charleston. There were those horrible images of those people bloodied and killed and weeping from the church. But they were replaced quickly, steadily, by the work that started to happen. By people who said, 'You’re not going to tell our story for us. We’re going to tell our story.'

"And that’s what’s happening in this community. That’s my work as the mayor here -- is not to allow these hateful people who just don’t get this country to define us," he said. "And they’re not going to define us."

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