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Another tropical storm on horizon

In case one wasn't enough, another tropical storm — the eighth of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season — was spinning about 1,400 miles east-southeast of Miami on Thursday.

Tropical Storm Hanna could strengthen into a hurricane by Labor Day and could turn toward Florida or elsewhere along the southeastern U.S. coast in coming days, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. It likely wouldn't threaten the U.S. coast until later next week, if at all.

Wind shear had "taken its toll on Hanna," and the fledgling storm with 50 mph winds was "struggling," according to an evening update from the National Hurricane Center.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Gustav's winds increased to 70 mph from 45 mph.

Although neither Gustav nor Hanna posed an immediate threat to Florida, Gov. Charlie Crist visited the hurricane center Thursday to meet with forecasters and remind residents they live in a state that has historically been a magnet for storms.

Crist noted that Tropical Storm Fay contributed to at least 12 deaths in Florida after it meandered through the state, flooding parts of Central and North Florida with up to 30 inches of rain.

"After Fay, there is no hurricane or tropical storm amnesia," Crist said.

The prospect of a major hurricane striking the Gulf Coast — home to a large chunk of U.S. crude-oil production — sent oil prices soaring above $120 a barrel Thursday. Analysts said it could being a spike in gas prices heading into the travel-heavy Labor Day weekend.

"You're going to see increases by 5, 10, 15 cents a gallon," said Tom Kloza, publisher of the Oil Price Information Service in New Jersey.

Another tropical storm on horizon 08/28/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 2, 2010 2:32pm]
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