Hurricane Bill picks up at sea; Claudette weakens

PENSACOLA BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Hurricane Bill picked up strength in the open Atlantic as it churned on a path toward Bermuda, while what was left of Claudette brought rain to the southern U.S.

Over the Atlantic, forecasters expected Hurricane Bill to become a major hurricane in the next couple of days, with winds that would eventually top 110 mph. Hours after forming Monday, Bill's top wind speed jumped to 90 mph as of 11 a.m. EDT.

Bill was centered about 1,080 miles (1,735 kilometers) east of the Lesser Antilles and moving west-northwest at 16 mph. The five-day forecast shows the storm passing northeast of Puerto Rico and heading toward Bermuda.

Earlier Monday, Claudette blew ashore in Florida, lost steam and was downgraded to a tropical depression as it moved north into Alabama.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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