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Tropical Storm Philippe forms in eastern Atlantic Ocean

By the CNN Wire Staff
September 24, 2011 -- Updated 2337 GMT (0737 HKT)
Newly formed tropical storm Philippe is expected to strengthen over the next 48 hours, here is NOAA's predictions of the storm's trajectory.
Newly formed tropical storm Philippe is expected to strengthen over the next 48 hours, here is NOAA's predictions of the storm's trajectory.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Philippe is in the far eastern Atlantic and has sustained 40 mph winds
  • It is expected to strengthen as it moves west-northwest, the hurricane center reports
  • Another tropical storm, Ophelia, is closer to the Caribbean and has stronger winds

(CNN) -- A new named tropical storm, Philippe, formed Saturday in the far eastern Atlantic Ocean, the National Hurricane Center reported.

Philippe is expected to strengthen over the next 48 hours, according to the forecast. Still, it remains far away from land -- the closest being the Cape Verde Islands off Africa, some 345 miles (550 kilometers) away, with the closest Caribbean islands about 3,000 miles away.

As of 5 p.m. Saturday, the storm had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph.

It was moving west-northwest at around 14 mph, with the hurricane center predicting a gradual turn more northwest -- a slight slowdown -- on Monday. Tropical storm-force winds, measuring 40 mph or stronger, are blowing about 45 miles from its center.

Tropical Storm Ophelia, meanwhile, is slightly more powerful and significantly closer to the Caribbean and the coastal United States.

It had sustained winds of 45 mph, with tropical storm-level winds measured up to 260 miles from its middle. It weakened slightly over the course of Saturday, according the hurricane center's 5 p.m. advisory.

Ophelia's movement is described as "erratic," as it heads in a general west-northwest direction at around 12 mph and is then expected to turn more northwest on Monday. Its eye is now located about 295 miles from the Leeward Islands.

As of Saturday evening, there were no coastal watches or warnings in effect for either Ophelia or Philippe.

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