Tropical Storm Beryl gained strength Wednesday as it pulled away from the North Carolina coast and headed toward New England.

The National Hurricane Center in Miami issued a tropical storm watch for southeastern Massachusetts, from Plymouth south and west to Woods Hole, including Cape Cod, Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard.

Colin McAdie, a meteorologist at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, said offshore areas of Massachusetts could get some wind as the storm passes by.

"This would be probably early morning hours Friday," McAdie said.

At about 5 p.m. EDT, the storm's maximum sustained winds were near 60 mph, above the 39 mph threshold for a named storm but below hurricane strength of 74 mph.

The storm was centered about 135 miles northwest of Cape Hatteras, or 390 miles south-southwest of Nantucket. It was moving north at about 8 mph, and a gradual turn to the north-northeast was expected Thursday.