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The 2009 hurricane season heats up: Ana, Claudette and Bill

After a slow start, the 2009 hurricane season is kicking off in a big way. Currently, three named storms are swirling around the Atlantic, including the season's first hurricane, Bill.  

Tropical Depression Ana, which first appeared last week but never became a full-fledged storm, is now causing extremely wet weather in the Caribbean Sea near the Dominican Republic.  

Tropical Storm Claudette struck the Florida Panhandle this morning with winds up to 50 miles per hour and about 4 inches of rain, but has already been downgraded to a depression as it moves into Alabama.  

Meanwhile, Hurricane Bill is currently passing about 1,080 miles west of the Lesser Antilles and is poised to skirt Cuba and head straight toward Bermuda over the next five days. Bill is a Category 1 hurricane, with winds up to 90 mph, but it is expected to strengthen and become a major hurricane (Category 3 or higher) by Wednesday.

Image of Hurricane Bill courtesy U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

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