Ophelia expected to strengthen in the Atlantic

Ophelia presses down on eastern Caribbean

MIAMI, Fl - Tropical Storm Ophelia is expected to strengthen into a hurricane as it moves away from the eastern Caribbean island of Dominica.

Ophelia has caused flooding and cut off communities on Dominica. About 1,600 people were stranded on the island and nearly a dozen cars have washed away.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Ophelia is expected to become a hurricane Friday. The storm has maximum sustained winds of 60 mph (97 kph) and is moving northward away from the Leeward Islands. Its forecast to head generally past Bermuda this weekend.

Tropical Storm Philippe is still far from land and moving west-northwest with winds of about 45 mph (72 kph). In the Pacific, Tropical Storm Hilary has weakened and is expected to become a remnant low by Friday.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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