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Storm systems gather strength in the Atlantic

by Staff Writers
Miami (AFP) Aug 26, 2010
Hurricane Danielle and Tropical Storm Earl strengthened Thursday in the open waters of the Atlantic but were unlikely to make landfall for days, the Miami-based National Hurricane Center said.

Models show Danielle passing east of Bermuda over the weekend, close enough to drench the island chain. Danielle is likely to miss the east coast of the US but could threaten the Canadian coast to the north by next week.

At 2100 GMT Danielle, a Category Two hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson wind scale, was 680 miles (1,095 kilometers) southeast of Bermuda moving northwest at 15 miles per hour, the NHC said.

Danielle was packing winds of 110 miles per hour and was expected to strengthen and become a major hurricane by late Thursday or Friday, the NHC said.

Further out in the Atlantic, southeast of Danielle, Tropical Storm Earl was moving west with winds of up to 45 miles per hour, the NHC said. Forecasters expect Earl to reach hurricane status by Saturday.

At 2100 GMT Earl was some 1,620 miles east of the northern Leeward Islands, moving west at around 18 miles per hour.

NHC forecasters expected Earl to make a northwesterly turn and gain strength as it passes over warm water.

On the current forecast Earl is expected to skirt the northeast of the Caribbean islands over the weekend, then turn north like Danielle.

Meanwhile in the Pacific, Hurricane Frank continued its march east away from the Mexican coast.

At 2100 GMT Frank, a Category One hurricane, was located some 335 miles south of the tip of the Baja California peninsula, heading west with winds of 90 miles per hour.

A weakened Frank could strike Baja California next week, the NHC said.

Heavy rain from Frank on Tuesday flooded homes, triggered landslides and damaged roads and bridges in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, affecting more than 100 towns, local officials said.

Authorities evacuated at least 3,000 people in Oaxaca, and several thousand more in the neighboring state of Veracruz, where rivers burst their banks.

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