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Hurricane Bill Likely Won’t Impact United States

The first hurricane of the Atlantic season showed signs of muscling into a major storm Monday as it churned northwest toward Bermuda, but it posed no immediate threat to the United States.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center predicted that Hurricane Bill would become a Category 3 hurricane by Wednesday with wind speeds between 111 mph and 130 mph.

"If you're in Bermuda, you need to keep an eye on this thing," says Chris Dolce, lead meteorologist for The Weather Channel in Atlanta. The storm is unlikely to hit the East Coast of the U.S., but "stranger things have happened," he says.

Hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30 but peaks from mid-August to mid-October. The average date of the first hurricane is Aug. 14, says Dennis Feltgen, spokesman for the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Hurricane Andrew, the first named storm of 1992, ravaged South Florida when it struck on Aug. 24.

No tropical storms or hurricanes developed in the first 2 1/2 months of this year's Atlantic hurricane season.

"Just because we had a quiet June and July is absolutely no harbinger of what's to come," Feltgen says. "We've had three storms that popped up over the last couple of days. Think of today as the first day of hurricane season. If you don't have a hurricane plan, now is the time to get one."

In Bermuda, "everyone's scrambling at the moment. When we hear Category 3, it definitely gets our attention," says Beverle Lottimore, spokeswoman for Bermuda's government. Hurricane Fabian, a Category 3 hurricane that hit Bermuda in 2003, killed four people, Lottimore says.

Ana and Claudette, the two other tropical storms that developed over the weekend, dissipated Monday. Ana became a big rainstorm that drenched Puerto Rico, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Claudette dropped 4 inches of rain on Florida's Panhandle on Sunday before moving into Alabama on Monday.

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