Tropical forecast

A tropical system in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean could soon become Tropical Storm Bertha. (National Hurricane Center / July 29, 2014)

A tropical system that formed off the coast of Africa could become this season's second named storm in the Atlantic, possibly threatening Caribbean islands eventually.

Showers and thunderstorms about 1,600 miles east of the southern Windward Islands are becoming better organized, according to the National Hurricane Center. Forecasters gave the system 70 percent chances of becoming a tropical cyclone within 48 hours and 80 percent chances of doing so within five days.

The system would be named Bertha if it organizes and strengthens enough to have at least 39 mph winds.

It would be right on time as far as typical tropical cyclone climatology dictates. The season's second named storm typically forms by Aug. 1, according to the hurricane center.

This season has gotten off to a slow start, in many ways.

Hurricane Arthur was just a few days ahead of the normal timing for the season's first named system, though the season's first hurricane doesn't typically arrive until early August. This season was the first since 2004 without a tropical storm forming in May or June.