MIAMI (Reuters) - Tropical Storm Humberto became the first hurricane of 2013 over the eastern Atlantic, but posed no threat to land, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said on Wednesday.
The hurricane was about 310 miles (500 km) northwest of the southernmost Cape Verde Islands with top winds of 75 miles per hour (120 kph), the NHC said.
Humberto was expected to pick up speed and turn north during the next two days, forecasters said.
Meanwhile Tropical Storm Gabrielle weakened as it passed Bermuda with maximum sustained winds of 50 miles per hour (80 kph). Gabrielle was about 55 miles (89 km) west of Bermuda, the NHC said, and was expected to continue weakening on its northerly track.
The burst of activity came on schedule as the Atlantic-Caribbean storm season hit its traditional peak.
Humberto was the eighth tropical storm of the Atlantic-Caribbean hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30 and historically peaks on September 10, and the first this year to reach hurricane strength.
The first hurricane of the season usually forms by August 10. Since the dawn of the satellite era in the mid-1960s, the latest date for the first hurricane to arrive was set in 2002 when Hurricane Gustav made its debut on September 11.
By reaching hurricane status before 8 a.m. EDT (1200 GMT) on Wednesday, Humberto narrowly missed replacing Gustav as the modern-day record holder, the forecasters in Miami said.
Gabrielle was about 55 miles (85 km) west of Bermuda, the NHC said, and was expected to weaken as it curves north toward Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. It was expected to remain a tropical storm until it approached Newfoundland on Saturday.
Bermuda was lashed by rough seas, heavy wind gusts and rain and several flights to the island were cancelled in anticipation of the storm.
The affluent British territory has strict building codes and tends to withstand tropical storms without major damage.
Gabrielle formed last week in the northeastern Caribbean, soaking Puerto Rico as it crossed into the Atlantic. It fizzled quickly, but regrouped over the weekend and became a tropical storm again on Tuesday.
Reporting by David Adams and Jane Sutton; Editing by Vicki Allen