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Hurricane Ophelia grows as it churns toward Bermuda

By the CNN Wire Staff
October 1, 2011 -- Updated 0833 GMT (1633 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Ophelia has maximum sustained winds of 120 mph
  • It is set to hit portions of Bermuda late Saturday, hurricane center predicts

(CNN) -- Hurricane Ophelia rapidly gained strength early Saturday as it barreled across the Atlantic toward Bermuda, forecasters said.

Ophelia packed winds of 120 mph (195 kph) by early Saturday morning, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

It was 385 miles (615 kilometers) south-southeast of Bermuda, and was moving north at 17 mph (28 kph). It was expected to speed up and pass east of Bermuda late Saturday.

A tropical storm watch was in effect for the mid-Atlantic island. Ophelia's increasingly northerly path suggests it won't directly threaten the coastal United States.

The system seemed to be weakening last week, but gained steam and was upgraded to a Category 3 hurricane Friday.

Forecasters said its intensity could fluctuate over the next 12 to 24 hours, followed by a gradual weakening.

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