August 18, 2009 in Nation/World

Hurricane Bill builds muscle over Atlantic

Associated Press

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – The first hurricane of this year’s Atlantic season gathered force far out to sea late Monday, while weaker storm systems drenched the northeastern Caribbean and the Florida Panhandle.

Hurricane Bill became a Category 2 storm with winds whipping at 100 mph as it moved on a track expected to be near Bermuda by the end of the week.

Bermuda faced a potential threat even if the Atlantic island avoided a direct hit, said Nick Camizzi, a forecaster with the British territory’s weather service.

It was too soon to tell if Bill would threaten the East Coast of the United States, said John Cangialosi, a meteorologist at the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

What began as Tropical Storm Ana weakened into a tropical depression as it raced past the Leeward Islands, U.S. and British Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

Tropical Storm Claudette quickly weakened after it made landfall at Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

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