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Tropical Storm Leslie expected to pass east of Bermuda

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 10:36 AM EDT, Sat September 8, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Leslie continued to churn as a tropical storm
  • It is expected to pass east of Bermuda on Sunday
  • Bermuda authorities are preparing for any problems

(CNN) -- Tropical Storm Leslie slowly churned in the Atlantic Saturday, where it was not posing a direct threat to land, but could send strong winds and waves to Bermuda.

As of Saturday morning, Leslie was about 310 miles south-southeast of Bermuda, and was expected to pass east of the island on Sunday.

The storm also was likely to regain hurricane strength as it picks up forward speed.

However, forecast models indicated it would likely remain a Category 1 storm, rather than the more powerful Category 2 storm previously forecast.

A tropical storm watch remained in effect Saturday in Bermuda, where schools were closed and government offices were preparing to close early to give residents more time to prepare.

Wayne Perinchief, Bermuda's national security minister, said this week that officials were planning a "well-coordinated" response to any problems caused by the storm.

For days, the storm has been dishing out heavy swells and dangerous currents in coastal areas of Bermuda, the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the U.S. East Coast from Florida to New York, the National Weather Service said.

Forecasters warned of potentially deadly rip currents that can pull even the strongest swimmers out to sea quickly. The agency warned beachgoers to stay out of the surf until the danger passes.

Another hurricane, Michael, formed late Wednesday in the eastern Atlantic. The first major hurricane of the season, it remained a Category 2 storm on Saturday, with winds of near 105 mph.

Michael is the seventh hurricane of the 2012 season, but posed no immediate threat to land and is expected to weaken in the coming days, the hurricane center said.

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