MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Tropical Storm Gonzalo, which is expected to become a hurricane by Thursday, is a little stronger as it heads due west.

At 11 p.m. Wednesday, the center of the system was about 1,045 east of the Southern Windward Islands.

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Gonzalo is moving toward the west near 12 mph.

A general westward motion at a faster forward speed is expected during the next few days.

On the forecast track, the center of Gonzalo would approach the Windward Islands late Friday and Saturday.

Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 60 mph with higher gusts.

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Further strengthening is forecast during the next couple of days, and Gonzalo is expected to become a hurricane on Thursday.

Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 35 miles from the center.

The government of Barbados has issued a Hurricane Watch for Barbados.

Interests in the Windward Islands should monitor the progress of this system.

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