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More tropical storms -- Nate and Maria -- take shape

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As thousands of residents in the South and on the Eastern Seaboard still struggle to recover from the ravages of Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee, Hurricane Katia continued spinning away and two more tropical storms took shape in the Caribbean and Atlantic –- Nate and Maria.

It’s too soon to say whether they’ll hit the U.S. mainland, but here’s what we know so far:

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The National Hurricane Center reports that Tropical Storm Nate, hovering over the southern Gulf of Mexico, is expected to drop 2 to 4 inches of rain on parts of Mexico’s east coast. The states of Campeche, Tabasco and Veracruz might get as much as 8 inches of rain. The storm was moving slowly –- about 2 mph –- and by Friday might start moving north.

Nate had winds of 45 mph, but in an advisory posted on its website Wednesday night, the center noted: “Some strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and Nate could become a hurricane by Friday.”

Tropical Storm Maria, pictured above, was in the mid-Atlantic, about 1,000 miles east of the Caribbean’s Leeward Islands. A tropical storm watch was in effect for Antigua, Barbuda, Montserrat and St. Kitts and Nevis.

There’s good news, however, about Hurricane Katia. Now a Category 1 hurricane, it was still swirling over the Atlantic and not expected to reach land. Whew.

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-- Steve Padilla


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