Tropical Storm Fay threatens mid-Atlantic coast, New England

MIAMI — Tropical Storm Fay, the sixth named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, began to edge away from the North Carolina coast Thursday evening, its sights set on the mid-Atlantic coast and southern New England.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said in its 11 p.m. advisory that Fay was moving toward the north at about 8 mph (13 kph) but was expected to have a faster forward speed over the next couple of days. The storm was located Thursday night about 85 miles north, northeast of Cape Hatteras and had top sustained winds of 45 mph (75 kph).

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A tropical storm warning was issued Thursday afternoon from Cape May, New Jersey, to Watch Hill, Rhode Island. The warning area includes Long Island and the Long Island Sound in New York, forecasters said.

According to forecasters, Fay will undergo slight strengthening into Friday before the centre moves inland and weakens. The hurricane centre said the storm will produce between 3 and 5 inches of rain along and near its track, creating the potential for flash flooding where the heaviest rain falls.

Fay's formation Thursday means it is the earliest sixth-named storm on record, according to Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach. The previous record was Franklin on July 22, 2005, Klotzbach tweeted.

Two named storms formed before the official June 1 start of the hurricane season. None of this season's previous five named storms strengthened into hurricanes.

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This story has been corrected to show that Fay, not Edouard, is the earliest sixth-named storm on record.

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