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Danielle and Earl churn through Atlantic Ocean

By the CNN Wire Staff
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Hurricane Danielle could become the first "major" hurricane of 2010 in the Atlantic
  • Danielle is the second hurricane of the 2010 Atlantic season
  • Tropical Storm Earl is following a path similar to Danielle's
  • Earl is could become a hurricane early Saturday

(CNN) -- A hurricane and a tropical storm spun through the Atlantic Ocean on Thursday morning, and were expected to gain strength, but neither posed an immediate threat to land, the National Hurricane Center said in its 11 a.m. update.

Hurricane Danielle, currently a Category 2 system with sustained winds of 105 mph, is expected to intensify and could become a "major" Category 3 hurricane later Thursday or Friday, the hurricane center said.

Category 2 hurricanes pack sustained winds of 96 to 100 mph. Category 3 hurricanes bear sustained winds of 111 to 130 mph.

Danielle is approximately 770 miles southeast of Bermuda, and the latest forecast from the hurricane center shows the storm passing 250 miles east of the British archipelago territory over the weekend. The hurricane poses no threat to the North American mainland at this time.

Travelling about 1,400 miles behind Danielle, also far from land, Tropical Storm Earl's winds swirled at a relatively modest 45 mph Thursday morning, toward the low end of the tropical storm range (39 to 73 mph). The hurricane center forecast that Earl would strengthen some during the next 48 hours and could become a hurricane by early Saturday, with a minimum of 74 mph sustained winds.

If so, Earl would be the third hurricane of the 2010 Atlantic season, following Danielle and Hurricane Alex.

Alex was a Category 2 system that caused widespread damage and some deaths in northern Mexico after it made landfall on June 30 near the border between Mexico and Texas, according to the Mexican government news agency.

Earl is expected to follow a path similar to Danielle's, although likely farther to the west, which could mean more of an

impact on Bermuda. It is still too early to rule out a possible landfall in the United States or the Caribbean, CNN meteorologist Brandon Miller said Thursday morning.