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Tropical Storm Forms in Atlantic

June 12, 1999

MIAMI (AP) _ Arlene, the season’s first tropical storm in the Atlantic, formed far out at sea Saturday with 40 mph wind and signs it would strengthen slightly.

``The primary good news is that it’s no threat to anyone″ for now, said John Guiney, forecaster at the National Hurricane Center.

Saturday afternoon the storm was located about 510 miles southeast of Bermuda, or about 1,200 miles off the mid Atlantic Coast. It was moving toward the west-northwest at 3 mph.

Arlene was expected to strengthen with sustained wind reaching 52 mph Sunday and to drift slowly northwestward, taking it slightly closer to Bermuda. Storms aren’t called hurricane until sustained wind reaches 74 mph.

``It’s still going be well enough away to not have any impact at all,″ Guiney said. ``I guess it just alerts us to the fact that the season has begun in earnest.″

A pioneer of hurricane forecasting, Colorado State University professor William Gray, expects 14 named storms this season, the most he has predicted since beginning his annual forecasts in 1984. Nine are expected to become hurricanes, compared with an average of six over the past 49 years.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued its first preseason forecast this year, calling for three or more intense hurricanes. Two is normal in the June-through-November season.

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