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Felix reaches hurricane status, expected to intensify

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: Felix becomes Category 1 hurricane
  • Winds reach 75 mph as storm churns toward Aruba
  • Felix is sixth named storm of 2007 hurricane season
  • Tropical Storm Henriette dumps heavy rain along Mexico's southwestern coast
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MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- Felix strengthened into a hurricane over the Caribbean on Saturday, setting its sights on Aruba and prompting Jamaica to issue a tropical storm watch, forecasters said.


Satellite image shows Hurricane Felix churning in the Caribbean on Saturday.

The storm's winds increased to 75 mph Saturday evening, making it a Category 1 hurricane -- the weakest on the Saffir-Simpson scale of intensity, the National Hurricane Center said.

The storm's approach had nervous residents in Aruba snapping up plywood and other supplies, The Associated Press reported.

"This kind of weather doesn't usually make it to Aruba, so people are definitely worried," store cashier Mark Werleman told the AP.

Earlier, Felix made its presence known in Grenada, damaging a concert venue and ripping roofs off at least two homes, according to the AP.

"It was really very, very scary. The wind was blowing so hard we thought our roof might come off," resident Jess Charles told the AP.

Felix is expected to strengthen in the next 24 hours. At 8 p.m. ET, the hurricane was centered about 270 miles east of Aruba.

It was moving westward at about 18 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Felix is expected to continue on this track over the next 24 hours, passing near or to the north of Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao late Saturday or early Sunday, according to forecasters. See Felix's projected path »

A tropical storm warning remains in effect for the three islands, meaning tropical storm conditions are expected in the warning area within the next 24 hours.

Meanwhile, the government of Jamaica has issued a tropical storm watch for the island, indicating tropical storm conditions are possible within 36 hours.

Another named storm, Tropical Storm Henriette, dumped heavy rain on Acapulco, Mexico, and has top sustained winds of 65 mph, the hurricane center said. See Henriette's projected path »

The storm is blamed for at least six deaths in the city: Three people were killed when the rains sent a boulder crashing into a home and three others died in a landslide, the AP reported.


The system is expected to become a hurricane by Sunday, the hurricane center said.

A tropical storm warning remains in effect from Punta San Telmo to Cabo Corrientes on the Pacific Coast of Mexico. Video Watch Acapulco get a drenching » E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

All About National Hurricane Center

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