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Hurricane Ophelia Gains Strength

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HURRICANE OPHELIA
This NOAA satellite image taken Friday, September 30, 2011 at 1:45 PM EDT shows Hurricane Ophelia located about 580 miles south of Bermuda with maximum sustained winds up to 115 mph. The system will continue moving northward and is no threat to the US. Meanwhile, clouds cover the Great Lakes and Northeast as a low pressure system hovers over the region kicking up more scattered showers. (AP Photo/Weather Underground) | Weather Underground / AP

MIAMI — Forecasters say Hurricane Ophelia is gaining strength and is expected to pass east of Bermuda.

Late Friday evening, Ophelia had maximum sustained winds near 120 mph (193 kph). The National Hurricane Center in Miami said the center of Ophelia was about 435 miles (700 kilometers) south-southeast of Bermuda, and was moving north at about 17 mph (27 kph). It was expected to speed up and pass east of Bermuda late Saturday.

A tropical storm watch is in effect for Bermuda, where tropical storm force winds are possible starting Saturday afternoon.

Ophelia reached hurricane strength Thursday afternoon and became a Category 3 storm Friday. It is the season's fourth hurricane.

Earlier, Ophelia caused flooding and cut off communities on Dominica.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Philippe remained far from land in the Atlantic.

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