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UPDATED: 16:26, September 09, 2005
Ophelia strengthened into hurricane
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Tropical Storm Ophelia strengthened into a hurricane 70 miles off Florida's Atlantic Coast on Thursday, becoming the seventh hurricane of the busy 2005 Atlantic season.

At 11 p.m. ET Thursday, the center of Ophelia was 80 miles east-northeast of Cape Canaveral, Florida, with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph and higher gusts, making it a minimal Category 1 hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The storm had barely moved in two days and was expected to begin drifting northeast on Friday, initially edging away from the US coast.

Forecasters said Ophelia could dump 1 to 5 inches of rain on parts of central and north Florida and southeast Georgia, and trigger dangerous rip tides all along the southeastern coast of the United States.

A tropical storm warning was in effect for the east coast of Florida from Sebastian Inlet, south of Melbourne, to Flagler Beach, an area that was being lashed by the edge of Ophelia Thursday afternoon.

Source: Xinhua/agencies

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