Major Hurricane Sam Bringing ‘Life-Threatening’ Swells To East Coast—Even Though Storm Is 900 Miles Away

Although Hurricane Sam has not made landfall in the Atlantic Ocean during its long journey, the U.S. East Coast will have to deal with "life-threatening surf current conditions" this weekend as a result of the Category 4 hurricane. This storm is already set for record books for being so persistent.

Hurricane Sam continues to push through the Atlantic as a major storm. NOAA

The Key Facts

Sam has maximum sustained winds of 130 mph and is moving over the central Atlantic Ocean. It is approximately 335 miles east of Bermuda, and about 900 miles from America's coastline. Although the storm is not threatening land, forecasters warn that the storm's swells will cause dangerous seas to the East Coast. Local National Weather Service offices are issuing rip current statements from New England to South Florida. Sam has been in major hurricane status (Category 3, or higher) for over a week now, and was mainly in Category 4. Hurricane Sam has been a Category-4 storm since Tuesday morning. According to the National Hurricane Center, it is now in the top 10 storms for the longest consecutive period of Category 4 strength or greater in the Atlantic basin.

What to Watch

Sam will remain a major hurricane at least for another 24 hours. However, its time as a hurricane should end in three days. According to the National Hurricane Center, Sam will "spectacularly transform into a large hurricane force post-tropical storm cyclone" at that point. Although the massive storm in the north Atlantic that Sam will become will not be close to land for some time, it is expected to track towards Iceland in six days.

Surprising Fact

On September 19, the National Hurricane Center began issuing bulletins about disturbed weather in an area that would become Hurricane Sam. This was while the system was still over Africa.

Important Background

Although the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season won't be over until November 30, it has already been one of most active in recent history. Only one nameWandastill is left on the storm naming list. After the 2020 and 2005 seasons, it seems likely that the naming list will run out for the third time. There is a new feature to the naming system. Forecasters now have access to a list with auxiliary names. They used to name storms after letters from the Greek alphabet, but that was before the naming list ran out. Hurricane Ida was the most powerful storm this season. It swept through Louisiana on August 29th with 150 mph sustained winds. It decimated coastal communities and shut down power lines in parts of New Orleans for several weeks. Ida's powerful remnants then moved northward through the U.S., bringing unprecedented flooding to the New York City, the area where most of the storm's fatalities were reported. New York and New Jersey were the locations of at least 48 deaths related to Ida.

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According to Government Forecasters, Hurricane Season is about to get worse (Forbes).

New Orleans Recovers Partially Power after Hurricane Ida, but Full Return could Take Weeks or More (Forbes).