Tropical Storm threatens Florida

A depression in the Atlantic Ocean was upgraded to Tropical Storm Katrina, which is gaining strength as it heads toward southeastern Florida.

The storm was upgraded once winds reached 39 mph (63 kph), said Frank LePore, a spokesman at the National Hurricane Center. The center of the depression was located about 70 miles (113 kilometers) southeast of Nassau, Bahamas, at 8 a.m. Miami time, according to an advisory from the National Hurricane Center.

Katrina's center is forecast to reach the Florida coast by about 2 a.m. on Aug. 26, with wind and rain beginning the day before, LePore said. Storms earlier this year, including hurricanes Dennis and Emily, caused flooding and destruction across the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico and trimmed oil production.

"We're expecting it to be a strong tropical storm at landfall," National Hurricane Center spokesman Eric Blake said. "The big thing will be heavy rain, 5 to 10 inches over south Florida. The big threat of wind damage will be along the coast," reports Bloomberg.

According to CNN, the long-range forecast path shows the system moving over the Bahamas, cutting across southern Florida and re-entering the Gulf of Mexico by the weekend.

However, the erratic nature of tropical systems means their paths often change.

As of 8 a.m. ET Wednesday, the center of Katrina was about 70 miles (115 kilometers) southeast of Nassau, the Bahamian capital, or about 250 miles (400 kilometers) east-southeast of the southeast coast of Florida. It was moving northwest at about 8 mph (13 kmh).

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