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Tropical Storm Ophelia forms, heads toward Caribbean
by Staff Writers
Miami (AFP) Sept 21, 2011

Tropical Storm Ophelia formed in the Atlantic Wednesday on a track projected to sweep past Puerto Rico and the island shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti by early next week, US weather forecasters said.

"Maximum sustained winds are near 45 miles (75 kilometers) per hour with higher gusts," the National Hurricane Center said. "Some gradual strengthening is possible during the next day or so."

At 0900 GMT, the storm was about 1,370 miles (2,205 kilometers) east of the Leeward Islands, moving west at 13 miles per hour.

The storm's projected track puts a swath of the eastern Caribbean in its path, reaching Puerto Rico and the eastern tip of the Dominican Republic by Monday.

Quake-ravaged Haiti, seen as particularly vulnerable because of its large population of people living in flimsy shelters, borders the Dominican Republic on the western side of the island of Hispaniola.

Ophelia is the 16th named storm of the 2011 Atlantic season, which has seen three hurricanes so far, including Irene, a massive system that unleashed deadly floods and storm surges in the eastern United States.

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