COLUMBUS (WCMH) ā€” The latter third of August marks the beginning of the most active part of the hurricane season. Historically, 80 percent of the tropical storms in the Atlantic Basin have occurred after Aug. 20.

A recent lull in activity has ended with the formation of two tropical depressions Thursday.

Tropical Storm Laura is approaching the Lesser Antilles. The presence aloft of very dry air aloft linked to the residual dusty Saharan Air Layer is contributing to a disorganized appearance of the storm and could limit intensification in the short term, as squally weather envelops the Caribbean islands.

Models are very consistent in taking the tropical disturbance north of Puerto Rico and Hispaniola, brushing the Turks and Caicos and Bahamas. A tropical storm watch as been issued for Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Anguilla.

Warm sea surface temperatures will be favorable for further strengthening near South Florida later in the weekend. Early next week, likely as a Category 1 hurricane, Laura will be move through the eastern Gulf of Mexico, before turning northwest and potentially impacting the northern Gulf Coast by midweek.

Another area of interest in the central Caribbean has been upgraded to Tropical Depression Fourteen Thursday morning. A northwesterly course could lead to landfall either in Honduras, or more likely, the Yucatan Peninsula, and then into the western Gulf early next week.

The 2020 hurricane season has been on a record pace. Last weekend, Tropical Storm Kyle moved away from the Atlantic Coast out to sea. The previous earliest ā€œLā€ storm was Luis on Aug. 29, 1995.

On the Pacific side, Hurricane Genevieve intensified rapidly earlier in the week into a monster Category 4 hurricane (130 mph winds) off the western coast of Mexico, southeast of the southern tip of Baja California. The storm passed off the southwestern tip of Baja California, with winds weakening to 80 mph. A northwesterly course will likely keep badly needed moisture away from the western U.S., which has been besieged by hundreds of active wildfires.