Bill becomes first Atlantic hurricane of the season

Tropical storm Bill has picked up enough power to become the first Atlantic hurricane of the season. The Miami-based National Hurricane Centre says Bill is still far from Land, but could soon become a "major hurricane".


AFP - The first hurricane of the Atlantic season gathered power Monday and US experts warned it could become a major storm.

Tropical Storm Bill was reclassed as a hurricane early Monday but remains far from land.

"Bill (is) now a hurricane, the first of the 2009 Atlantic season," the Miami-based National Hurricane Center announced in an advisory.

At 0900 GMT, Bill was 1,160 miles (1,870 kilometers) east of the Lesser Antilles, according to the hurricane center.

The new hurricane was moving northwest at 22 miles (35 km) an hour, packing sustained winds of 75 miles (120km) an hour, the center said.

Bill was expected to continue in this general direction for one or two days. "Strengthening is forecast during the next day or two," the advisory said. "And Bill could become a major hurricane by Wednesday."

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