(Tampa, FL - 970 WFLA) -- A tropical depression forming east of the Lesser Antilles could strengthen to a tropical storm Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said.
The depression, with maximum sustained winds of 35 mph, was about 715 miles east of the Leeward Islands and heading west at 20 mph, the center said in its 5 a.m. EDT advisory.
The depression, the ninth depression of the season, is forecast to become a tropical storm Tuesday, the center said.
Tropical storm warnings and watches were issued for Dominica, Guadeloupe, Desirade, Les Saints, Marie Galante, St. Martin, St. Kitts, Nevis, Antigua, Montserrat, Barbuda, Saba, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten, the British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Vieques, Culebra and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
The depression was expected to remain on its forecast track for the next few days, moving through the southern Leeward Islands and the northern Windward Islands Wednesday and emerge over the eastern Caribbean Sea Thursday.
The depression was expected to bring rain over the northern Windward Islands and the Leeward Islands, the hurricane center said.
Dangerous surf and rip current conditions will affect the Windward Islands and Leeward Islands during the next couple of days, forecasters said.