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Nicholas Gains Strength in Atlantic Ocean

October 15, 2003

MIAMI (AP) _ Tropical Storm Nicholas strengthened Wednesday in the open Atlantic but posed no immediate threat to land, forecasters said.

The storm had maximum sustained winds of 50 mph Wednesday, an increase of 10 mph from the day before, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said.

Nicholas could grow to hurricane force by Friday, forecasters said.

At 5 p.m. EDT, the storm was located 1,010 miles east of the Windward Islands, part of the island chain that separates the Atlantic from the Caribbean.

The storm was moving west-northwest near 8 mph, with a gradual turn to the northwest expected by Thursday.

Weather systems are classified as tropical storms when their top sustained winds reach 39 mph, and become hurricanes with wind of at least 74 mph.

Nicholas is the 14th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, which began June 1 and ends Nov. 30.

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On the Net:

National Hurricane Center: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov

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