Tropical Storm Debby crawling offshore in the Gulf

Associated Press
This NOAA satellite image taken Saturday, June 23, 2012, shows shower and thunderstorm activity developing around an area of low pressure spinning in the Gulf of Mexico. Tropical Storm Debby has formed in the Gulf of Mexico and forecasters say it will bring rain to the Gulf coast from southern Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle. (AP Photo/NOAA)

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MIAMI (AP) — U.S. forecasters say Tropical Storm Debby is slowly trekking northward in the Gulf of Mexico and is expected to strengthen.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Debby was located about 165 miles (265 kms) southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River at 5 a.m. EDT Sunday. The forecast shows the storm has top sustained winds of 50 mph (85 kph) — with higher gusts — and is moving northward at 3 mph (6 kph).

The hurricane center says the storm is expected to turn gradually westward while strengthening in the next 48 hours over the northern Gulf.

Although the track is still far from certain, forecasters say Debby could have near hurricane force winds early in the week and they urge caution all along the U.S. Gulf coast.

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