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Aug 31, 2011 8:44 AM by Kate Richards

Tropical Storm Katia gaining strength

MIAMI (AP) - Tropical Storm Katia is getting stronger in the mid-Atlantic and could become a hurricane later in the day.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami says the storm is still far out to sea and it's too early to say if will threaten for any land area.

Katia's maximum sustained winds were near 65 mph (100 kph) earlier today, short of the hurricane threshold of 74 mph. It's expected to keep strengthening and could become a major hurricane this weekend.

Katia is centered about 985 miles (1,585 kilometers) west of the southernmost Cape Verde Islands and moving west-northwest near 21 mph (33 kph).

The storm's name replaces Katrina in the rotating storm roster because of the catastrophic damage from the 2005 storm that devastated New Orleans and the coast.

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