Tropical Storm Arthur strengthens off Florida

MIAMI (AP) - With a holiday weekend on the horizon, the National Hurricane Center says the first named storm of the Atlantic season is becoming better organized off Florida and is expected to become a hurricane.

Tropical Storm Arthur formed Tuesday. A tropical storm watch is in effect from Fort Pierce to Flagler Beach. The National Hurricane Center in Miami urges people as far north as parts of Virginia to monitor Arthur's track.

It's moving northwest at 5 mph (7 kph). Forecasters expect Arthur to strengthen over the next two days and turn toward the north Wednesday. Forecasters predict rain and life-threatening surf and rip currents.

Maximum sustained winds Tuesday evening were about 40 mph (65 kph). The storm was centered about 80 miles (130 kilometers) east-southeast of Cape Canaveral.

From Florida to the Carolinas, officials and hotel owners say they're not yet seeing many vacation cancelations or other scrambling.

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