MIAMI (AP) – Hurricane Maria continued to intensify Monday over warm water in the open Atlantic, but remained only a threat to shipping, forecasters said.

Its top wind speeds were approaching 105 mph as the system neared cooler waters, which are expected to sap Maria of its strength later in the week.

At 5 p.m. EDT, the storm was centered about 475 miles east of Bermuda. It was moving north at about 9 mph. Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center said a gradual turn to the northeast would keep Maria well to the east of Bermuda.

Maria is the fifth hurricane and 13th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, one of the busiest on record. Historically, only about four or five named storms form by this time of year, according to the hurricane center. Peak storm activity typically occurs from the end of August through mid-September.

Another tropical depression formed Monday and had top sustained winds of 30 mph. It was centered about 350 miles south-southwest of Bermuda and was expected to begin moving slowly to the west-northwest over the next day.


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