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updated: 9/1/2011 11:27 AM

Hurricane Katia continues moving across Atlantic

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Associated Press

MIAMI -- Hurricane Katia is moving across the Atlantic with little change in strength.

Maximum sustained winds Thursday were near 75 mph (120 kph). The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami says strengthening is expected and Katia could pass the threshold of 111 mph (178 kph) winds to become a major hurricane this weekend.

It's centered about 1,050 miles (1,685 kilometers) east of the Leeward Islands and moving west near 18 mph (30 kph).

Jack Beven, a senior hurricane specialist at the center, says it's too early to tell if Katia will hit the U.S. It is expected to pass north of the Caribbean.

Also becoming a concern is a thunderstorm cluster in the Gulf of Mexico, which has a high chance of becoming a tropical depression in the next few days.