Thursday June 9, 2005 1:16 PM
MIAMI (AP) - Tropical Storm Arlene developed Thursday in the northwest Caribbean Sea, edging closer to western Cuba as the Atlantic hurricane season's first named storm.
Arlene strengthened from a tropical depression that formed Wednesday. By Thursday morning, it had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph.
At 8 a.m. EDT, the storm's center was about 190 miles south-southeast of the western tip of Cuba. It was moving north at about 8 mph, and this motion could bring the storm's center near western Cuba as early as Thursday night, forecasters said.
The Cuban government has issued a tropical storm watch for the western province of Pinar Del Rio to the capital of Havana.
The depression was causing heavy rains and squalls across the Cayman Islands and western and central Cuba. Forecasters warned that very heavy rains in Nicaragua and Honduras could cause flash floods and mud slides.
Tropical storms have top sustained winds of 39 mph to 74 mph.