(Updates with latest forecast and reduced threat to U.S. coast)
MIAMI, Aug 24 (Reuters) - Tropical Storm Cristobal moved over the central Bahamas on Sunday with winds gusting over 45 miles per hour (72 km per hour), but posed little threat to the U.S. coast, according to forecasters.
Centered about 185 miles (300 km) east-northeast of Great Inagua island, Cristobal was moving at eight mph (13 kph) and could strengthen into a hurricane over the next three days, the U.S. National Hurricane Center reported.
Long-range forecasts show Cristobal, the third named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, passing near or to the east of the central Bahamas on Monday before heading harmlessly on a northeast track over the Atlantic.
Cristobal drenched the southeast and central Bahamas, as well as parts of Haiti and the Dominican Republic, at the weekend. It provided some relief to drought conditions in Puerto Rico, replenishing key water resources for the capital San Juan.
Forecasters in August downgraded their outlook for the 2014 Atlantic hurricane season, predicting below-normal activity with seven to 12 named storms, and no more than two expected to reach major hurricane status.
A major hurricane is considered to be Category 3 or above with winds hitting at least 111 mph (178 kph).
So far this year, two hurricanes - Arthur and Bertha - have developed in the Atlantic. Only Arthur, a Category 2 storm, made landfall, on North Carolina's Outer Banks in early July.
Cooler-than-average temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean are making it difficult for larger storms to develop, the forecasters say. (Reporting by Zachary Fagenson and David Adams in Miami and Eric Beech in Washington.; Editing by Andrew Roche, Lynne O'Donnell and Leslie Adler)
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