Source AP ©

Tropical storm being formed off USA's East Coast

A tropical depression gained speed early Tuesday off the East Coast of the United States between Bermuda and Massachusetts and was expected to briefly become a tropical storm.

The depression was about 380 miles (610 kilometers) north of Bermuda and 380 miles (610 kilometers) southeast of Chatham, Massachusetts, according to the Hurricane Center.

At 0900GMT, it had top sustained winds near 35 mph (55 kph) and was moving toward north-northeast at 21 mph (33kph), forecasters said. That's an increase in speed since a 16 mph (26kph) reading at 0300 GMT.

The third depression of the season was expected to grow stronger but "as a tropical system it has a very short life ahead of it," said James Franklin, a senior hurricane specialist with the National Hurricane Center.

The depression would be named Chantal if it reaches tropical storm strength, with winds of at least 39 mph (63 kph).

There have been two named storms in 2007: Subtropical Storm Andrea, which formed in May, and Tropical Storm Barry, which formed June 1, the first day of hurricane season.

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