MIAMI (Reuters) - Hurricane Cristobal continued to turn to the northeast on Tuesday, moving away from the Bahamas and the U.S. East Coast, but is still likely to cause dangerous coastal conditions, the National Hurricane Center said.
Centered about 435 miles (700 km) west-southwest of Bermuda, Cristobal was moving at 15 mph (24 kph) and had strengthened slightly, with winds reaching 80 miles per hour (130 km per hour), the NHC added.
The center of Cristobal is expected to pass northwest of Bermuda on Wednesday, causing tropical storm conditions on the British territory about 640 miles (1,030 km) off the coast of North Carolina.
“Swells generated by Cristobal are affecting portions of the United States east coast from central Florida northward to North Carolina ... and will spread northward later this week,” the Miami-based forecast office warned, adding that life-threatening surf and rip current conditions were likely.
Cristobal is the third named storm of this year’s Atlantic hurricane season and soaked parts of the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos islands on Monday, after drenching Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico on the weekend.
Two people were reported missing due to flooding in Haiti, according to local officials.
Forecasters this month downgraded their outlook for the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season, predicting below-normal activity with seven to 12 named storms, and no more than two reaching major hurricane status.
A major hurricane is considered to be Category 3 or above with winds hitting at least 111 mph (178 kph).
Reporting by David Adams; Editing by Susan Heavey and Eric Walsh