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Sam strengthens to a hurricane as rapid intensification is forecast to continue

Hurricane Sam developed Friday morning and is expected to pass to the north of the Leeward Islands and Puerto Rico Wednesday into Thursday of next week as a major hurricane.
Hurricane Sam developed Friday morning and is expected to pass to the north of the Leeward Islands and Puerto Rico Wednesday into Thursday of next week as a major hurricane.

MIAMI – Sam formed over the central Atlantic Ocean Thursday and continues to move toward the west. Sam will eventually track toward the west-northwest to northwest over the weekend into early next week, steering the storm to the northeast of the Leeward Islands.

Sam has been able to intensify early Friday morning and is now a Category 1 hurricane (maximum sustained winds of 74-95 mph).

Sam is forecast to pass to the north of the Leeward Islands and Puerto Rico during the middle of next week as a major hurricane (maximum sustained winds of at least 111 mph). However, it is still possible the track may bring some stronger winds and rain to the northern Leeward Islands if Sam moves close enough to the islands.

As such, residents and interests in the area should monitor the forecast closely, and it is not too early to begin preparations for the possibility that Sam will bring effects to the area.

Regardless of track, rough surf and dangerous rip currents will begin to impact the eastern shores of the Leeward and Windward islands this weekend. Shipping interests should monitor this storm closely as large waves are expected to develop as it intensifies.

These rip currents will begin over the southeastern United States coastline for the middle and end of next week.

We are also watching a non-tropical low, what was once Tropical Storm Odette well east-southeast of St. John’s, Newfoundland. This low may gain intensity over the next few days as it tracks to the south and southeast.

Should this become sufficiently organized, it could be renamed.

Another area of concern will be found to the south of the Cabo Verde Islands. A new tropical wave is expected to emerge off the African coast later this weekend.

As this wave tracks westward through a favorable environment early next week, a tropical depression or storm may form.