updated 9/30/2008 11:33:08 AM ET 2008-09-30T15:33:08

Tropical Storm Laura is moving toward the cold waters of the north Atlantic and is expected to gradually weaken over the next few days, the National Hurricane Center said Tuesday.

The 12th named storm of the season was centered about 375 miles south-southeast of Cape Race, Newfoundland, at 5 p.m. ET Tuesday and moving north near 14 mph.

Laura’s maximum sustained winds are near 60 mph. The hurricane center says a gradual weakening is forecast and Laura may lose its tropical characteristics by Thursday.

Forecasters said Laura’s designation changed from a subtropical storm to a tropical storm during the morning. The change reflects different ways that a storm draws its energy from the atmosphere or the ocean and how widely spread-out it is.

Laura was not expected to affect any land areas and would only be a threat to shipping interests in the far north Atlantic.

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