Meteorologists with the U.S. National Hurricane Center say Hurricane Sam has again strengthened to a Category 4 storm but remains far from land, although it could threaten Bermuda later in the week.
In its latest report, forecasters said Sam was 935 kilometers east of the northern Leeward Islands, with maximum sustained winds of 215 kilometers per hour. The storm had weakened late Monday, though the hurricane hunter plane flew into the storm earlier Tuesday to confirm it was intensifying.
Forecasters expect Sam to take a turn toward the north later in the week and say the storm will pass well to the east of the Caribbean islands. It will likely generate swells that could create life-threatening surf and rip current conditions throughout the area.
The hurricane center expects Sam to maintain its major hurricane status over the next three to five days. It could affect Bermuda and even the Atlantic coast of Canada later this week.
Meteorologists with The Washington Post’s Capital Weather Gang report Sam reached its peak strength Sunday when it reached nearly 250 kilometers per hour, just shy of a Category 5 hurricane, making it the strongest storm of the season so far.
They say it also was the fifth storm of the Atlantic hurricane season to rapidly intensify – that is, see its peak winds increase at least 56 kilometers per hour in 24 hours. And it marked the fourth major hurricane – rated Category 3 or higher – this season.
They report 2021 is the sixth consecutive year with above-average tropical activity. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June through November.