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Tropical Storm Danny strengthening as it churns toward Caribbean

The fourth named tropical cyclone of the Atlantic hurricane season formed Tuesday about midway between Africa and South America, and is strengthening as it heads toward the Caribbean Sea.

Tropical Storm Danny is about 1,400 miles east of the Lesser Antilles islands and has strengthened to carry 50 mph maximum sustained winds, according to the National Hurricane Center. It is moving west at about 12 mph.

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Forecasters predict it will strengthen to become the year's first Atlantic hurricane by Thursday.

It is not forecast to threaten land until Monday, when it is predicted to reach the Antilles.

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Danny is the first tropical cyclone in the Atlantic in more than a month. Earlier this month, forecasters adjusted their seasonal outlook to predict a quieter-than-normal season as all but a certainty.

By the official end of hurricane season Nov. 30, they expect six to 10 named tropical storms to form in the Atlantic basin, one to four of which could become hurricanes. Zero or one of the hurricanes could reach "major" strength with winds of at least 111 mph.

On average, the fourth named storm of the season comes by Aug. 23, according to the hurricane center, so Danny is right on time. In a normal season, the year's first hurricane comes around Aug. 10.

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