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Tropical Storm Kate forms near the Bahamas

Tropical Storm Kate has formed near Cat Island in the central Bahamas, prompting tropical storm warnings for parts of the island country, forecasters say.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Kate formed about 40 miles (60 kilometers) east-southeast of Cat Island with maximum sustained winds near 40 miles (65 kilometers) per hour. The storm had strengthened a little more by 10 a.m. ET, reaching maximum sustained winds of 45 miles (75 kilometers) per hour, with higher gusts.

"Data from an Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter aircraft indicate that Kate has strengthened a little," said NHC hurricane specialist John Cangialosi in a 10 a.m. ET advisory. "Kate is a very small tropical cyclone, with its associated central dense overcast extending no more than about 40 nautical miles from the center."

A tropical storm warning has been issued for the central and northwestern Bahamas, although the eye of Kate is not expected to make landfall on any of the islands.

"Tropical storm conditions are expected to continue over portions of the central Bahamas for the next few hours and will spread over portions of the northwestern Bahamas this afternoon," Cangialosi explained. "Kate is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 1 to 3 inches (2.5 to 7.6 centimeters) over the Bahamas through tonight."

The tropical cyclone is expected to strengthen some more during the next day or so while it remains in a low- to moderate-shear environment and over warm water, but Kate is unlikely to become a hurricane. "All of the models show Kate becoming absorbed by a much larger extratropical cyclone in 2-3 days," Cangialosi said.

After making her way through the outer edges of the central and northwestern Bahamas, Kate is expected to turn towards the north later on Monday, after which the storm will accelerate on Tuesday morning in its movement towards the northeast. This movement will keep Kate well off the U.S. East Coast.

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