After months of waiting, storm season kicks into gear

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Storm activity is heating up on two fronts in the Atlantic region with tropical storms Dean and Erin spinning around.

Dean is now threatening the central Caribbean on a track that could take it through the open seas between Martinique and St. Lucia as early as Friday, packing winds of 80 mph or higher.

Dean is expected to become a hurricane late Thursday, the first hurricane of the 2007 Atlantic season, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

The NHC warned that the storm's track could veer unpredictably, although the latest computer models indicated a path that favors a westward track.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Erin formed Wednesday in the Gulf of Mexico and headed toward southeastern Texas, threatening to bring downpours to a state already inundated from one of the rainiest summers on record.

Storm warnings were posted for the Texas coast south of Houston to the Mexican border.

In the Pacific, meanwhile, Flossie was downgraded to a tropical storm after sideswiping Hawaii's Big Island with rain and heavy surf on Thursday.

   

To contact reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].

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