MIAMI - The first named tropical storm of the 2000 hurricane season intensified to hurricane strength Saturday but was not expected to threaten land anytime soon, forecasters said.
The storm, centered about 515 miles west of the Cape Verde Islands, had top sustained winds of 75 mph, passing the 74 mph threshold to become Hurricane Alberto, said Miles Lawrence, a hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
''It's no threat to land for several days,'' Lawrence said. ''At some point it might be, but not any time soon.''
Alberto was located about 3,315 miles southeast of Florida with hurricane force winds extending 25 miles from its center.
Forecasters said it was still too early to predict if Alberto might ever threaten the United States or the Caribbean.
''It's just one of many (storm) systems of a similar kind that come across the Atlantic, and whether or not they actually make it all the way across and threaten land, we'll just have to wait and see,'' Lawrence said.
On the Net:
National Hurricane Center: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/