Hurricane Fred Lashes Cape Verde

Hurricane Fred hit Cape Verde - The first such storm to strike it since 1892 -- lashing the archipelago off the coast of West Africa with strong winds and heavy rain on Monday, US forecasters said.

It could spawn life-threatening flash floods and mudslides, they warned.

Packing winds of up to 85 miles per hour (140 kilometers per hour), the eye of the storm was expected to pass near or over the northwestern part of the archipelago off the West African coast within hours, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The winds, which the Miami-based center said could be significantly stronger in higher elevations, are expected to cause a storm surge accompanied by large and dangerous waves near the coast.

Fred, a category one hurricane on the five-point Saffir-Simpson scale, also could dump up to 10 inches of rain on the islands, causing dangerous conditions, according to the forecasters.

"According to the official Atlantic tropical cyclone record, which begins in 1851, Fred is the first hurricane to pass through the Cape Verde Islands since 1892," the NHC said.

Fred is expected to weaken gradually starting Tuesday as it moves further out to sea.

It is the second hurricane of the Atlantic season.

Earlier this month, Hurricane Danny caused a tropical storm across a handful of popular Caribbean destinations but was downgraded to a tropical depression before it could do much damage.

Just days ago, tropical storm Erika left at least 20 people dead and dozens missing as it swept over the tiny Caribbean island nation of Dominica.

The Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30, sees peak activity in September.

But experts have said there was a 90 percent chance this year's season would be less active than usual.

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