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Hurricane Kirk strengthens in Atlantic

01 september 2012, 10:08
Hurricane Kirk strengthened rapidly over the open Atlantic Ocean on Thursday, though it posed no hazard to land, AFP reports according to the US forecasters.

The Miami-based National Hurricane Center forecast that the storm, while powerful with top winds gusting at 90 miles (145 kilometers) per hour, would likely spin out over the open seas as it heads east toward Europe.

At 2100 GMT, Kirk was about 1,065 miles northeast of the northern Leeward Islands as it headed north-northwestward at a speed of 13 miles per hour, according to the NHC.

Kirk is a category one storm on the five-point Saffir-Simpson scale and was set to gather strength over the next couple of days, perhaps becoming a category two storm as early as Friday.

Kirk became the fifth hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic season earlier as the US Gulf Coast bears the brunt of Isaac, which caused massive flooding when it swept through Louisiana as a hurricane. It has since been downgraded to a tropical depression as it moved inland.

To the south of Kirk, Tropical Storm Leslie formed, though it also posed no current threat to land. It was on track to become a hurricane in a day or two, according to the NHC.

The eye of the storm was located about 1,060 miles east of the Windward Islands as it spun rapidly westward at 21 miles per hour with top winds of 45 miles per hour.

Leslie was expected to eventually move to the northeast of the lesser Antilles.

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