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MIAMI (AP) -- Tropical storm Bret is swirling in the Atlantic Ocean off the Bahamas and forecast to stay away from the U.S. East Coast.

Authorities in the Bahamas issued a tropical storm warning early Monday for Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands, meaning tropical storm conditions are expected in the next few hours..

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said the storm's center was about 65 miles (105 kilometers) north-northwest of Great Abaco Island. Its maximum sustained winds were 50 mph (85 kph) and it was drifting northeast at 3 mph (6 kph). Bret was expected to begin moving north-northeast later Monday and to strengthen over the next day or two.

The storm could produce 2 to 4 inches of rain over the northwest Bahamas.

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