MIAMI (Reuters) - The Atlantic's latest tropical storm is likely to strengthen soon into a short-lived hurricane while staying far from land, U.S. hurricane foresters said on Sunday.
Tropical Storm Philippe, the 16th named storm of the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season, came to life on Saturday as forecasters tracked another tropical storm, Ophelia, which was approaching the Caribbean.
Forecasters at the U.S. National Hurricane Center predicted Ophelia will skirt the Caribbean's island chains and neither storm will constitute a threat to the densely populated U.S. coast or energy interests in the Gulf of Mexico.
Philippe on Sunday was about 450 miles west-southwest of the southernmost Cape Verde Islands, moving west-northwest at 12 miles per hour, while producing top sustained winds of 45 mph, according to the Miami-based hurricane center.
"Some strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and Phillipe could become a hurricane by late Monday," the forecasters said in advisory.
Ophelia continued on a path that forecasters say will keep it away from Puerto Rico. Ophelia appears to be unwinding and soon may be downgraded from tropical storm status.
Ophelia at midday on Sunday was 175 miles east of the Caribbean's Leeward Islands and had top sustained winds of 40 mph as it moved west at 9 mph.
(Reporting by Michael Condor in Miami; Editing by Bill Trott)