Late Saturday night Hurricane Sam strengthened, moving closer to Category 5. Its top sustained winds were measured at 145 mph winds, a day earlier than forecasters predicted. It is the fourth major hurricane in the 2021 season.
Rapid intensification Sam, a Category 2 hurricane that sustained 110 mph winds in the early hours of Saturday morning, is expected to continue into the night. Maximum sustained winds for Category 4 storms are between 130 mph and 156 mph.
Sam is not expected to cause any damage in South Florida at this time. The hurricane center has actually moved Sams forecast cone to north and east from its last advisory. This is due to a trough that will develop over the western Atlantic in the coming days. This should allow the storm to slow down and turn towards the northwest next week, avoiding a direct hit on the eastern Caribbean islands.
Sam was approximately 990 miles east-southeast from the eastern Caribbean, moving at 8 mph west-northwest as of Saturday's 11 p.m. advisory.
According to the National Hurricane Center, Sam is a small storm that generated hurricane-force winds 30 miles away from Sam's center and tropical-storm force winds 105 miles away.
Although Sams growth will slow down a little as it encounters wind shear next week, it is still expected to be a major hurricane for the next few days.
Elsewhere in the region, Teresa, the 19th named hurricane of the season, was fully dissipated at 2 a.m. on Sunday.
Teresa was the second-earliest 19th named hurricane to form in the Atlantic basin. She is only two years behind the 2020 season.
A tropical wave is also expected to move off Africa's west coast by the weekend. It is expected to move west at 10-15 mph, and has a medium chance to develop in five days. According to the hurricane center, the system could become a tropical depression in the middle of next week.
A large area of low pressure could develop over the eastern or middle tropical Atlantic in the early part of next week to the west and east of the tropical wave moving off the coast Africa. The environment is favorable for the development of this disturbance as it moves slowly westwards through the middle next week.
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Randy Adkins, AccuWeather meteorologist, expects that hurricane season will continue to be busy over the next few weeks.
There is precedent. Unfortunately, it seems like last years has been a very close match for this one in terms of how things have changed, he stated in reference to the 30 named storms in the 2020 hurricane season.
Although last year was busier than usual, they were still well above the average for this hurricane season. This suggests that activity will continue into October and the rest of the month.
For the next few days, the wind shear that prevented former tropical storms Peter & Rose from becoming stronger systems will be weaker. This will support Sam's development and warm water temperatures in Atlantic.
Victor and Wanda are the remaining storm names for 2021, with more than two months left.
Late-season storms that are not named this year will no longer have the confusing Greek names Zeta or Theta. Instead, experts have chosen to use an excess list of proper names. This list includes Adria Braylen and Caridad, Deshawns, Emerys Foster, Gemma, Heath, Gemma, Gemma, Gemma, Emerys Foster, Gemma, Emerys, Foster, Gemma, Emerys, Foster, Gemma, and Heath.
Through Nov. 30, the Atlantic hurricane season has seen 19 named storms, seven hurricanes, and four major hurricanes.