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Tropical Storm Dora Nears Hurricane Level as Bret Weakens

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July 19 (Bloomberg) -- Tropical Storm Dora strengthened in the eastern Pacific and is forecast to become a hurricane, while Bret weakened in the Atlantic on a course out to sea, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Dora, 295 miles (475 kilometers) south of Acapulco, Mexico, had sustained winds of 70 miles per hour as of 5 p.m. East Coast time, the Miami-based center said in an advisory. Dora is expected to become a major hurricane, then weaken before brushing past the southwestern tip of the Baja Peninsula.

Dora’s storm-force winds extend outward as far as 125 miles, the center said. “Life-threatening” surf swells are expected to affect the coast of southwestern Mexico as the storm moves west-northwest, parallel to the coast, at 17 mph.

Bret, the second tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, weakened as it moved northeast away from the Bahamas, the center said in a separate advisory. The system is forecast to diminish during the next 48 hours.

Bret was 330 miles south of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and was moving north-northeast at 8 mph, with sustained winds of 50 mph.

“Bret is likely to remain well offshore of the southeastern coast of the U.S.,” the center said.

In an outlook issued at about 8 p.m. New York time today, the center identified a low-pressure area about 175 miles east-northeast of Bermuda producing “disorganized showers and thunderstorms. The system, moving at about 20 mph, has a 20 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone in the next two days, the center said.

‘‘Environmental conditions are marginally conducive for development,’’ according to the outlook.

A disturbance becomes a named storm when sustained winds reach 39 mph. A storm reaches hurricane status when winds increase to 74 mph, and a major storm level when winds hit 111 mph.

To contact the reporters on this story: Lananh Nguyen in London at lnguyen35@bloomberg.net; Charlotte Porter in New York at Cporter11@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net

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