updated 8/26/2004 11:10:02 PM ET 2004-08-27T03:10:02

A rapidly intensifying storm churning in the Atlantic Ocean became a hurricane Thursday, but posed no immediate threat to land.

Hurricane Frances was expected to become better organized Friday, forecasters said. Frances was a tropical depression Wednesday afternoon, but became a tropical storm and then a hurricane over the next day.

At 11 p.m. EDT, Frances was located in the central Atlantic Ocean, about 940 miles east of the Lesser Antilles, and had maximum sustained winds near 85 mph. A tropical storm becomes a hurricane when its winds reach 75 mph. Frances was moving west-northwest near 15 mph.

Frances is the sixth named storm of the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.

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