ST. PETERSBURG -- Tropical Storm Cristobal strengthened into a hurricane off the Bahamas on Monday night.
Earlier Monday, the storm doused the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands with heavy rainfall as it moved slowly on a northern track in the Caribbean.
The storm is expected to stay away from Florida and the U.S. East Coast.
Cristobal, which formed as a tropical depression over the Turks and Caicos Islands on Saturday, is the third named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season.
One man died over the weekend and two other people were reported missing when they were caught up by swollen rivers on Hispaniola, the island shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti.
Cristobal is moving toward the north-northeast near 5 mph. This general motion is expected to continue through tonight. A turn toward the northeast with a gradual increase in forward speed is forecast to occur on Tuesday.
On the forecast track, the center of Cristobal is forecast to move away from the Bahamas through tonight. Maximum sustained winds are near 60 mph with higher gusts. Gradual strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours and Cristobal could become a hurricane in a couple of days.
A tropical storm watch has been posted for Bermuda.