MIAMI — Hurricane Epsilon has strengthened into a powerful Category 2 hurricane with 110 mph winds, according to an update from the National Hurricane Center.
Forecasters said the storm saw some rapid intensification overnight that continued through Wednesday.
"It is possible that Epsilon could strengthen a little more and become a major hurricane later today before conditions become less conducive tomorrow," forecasters wrote.
In Bermuda, where tropical storm conditions are expected to begin Wednesday evening, the tropical storm watch was upgraded to a warning.
As of 2 p.m. Eastern time, Epsilon was moving west-northwest at 9 mph and was about 365 miles east-southeast of Bermuda with maximum sustained winds at 110 mph with higher gusts, according to the hurricane center. That's a 20 mph leap from the 11 a.m. update.
The storm is large — with hurricane-force winds extending 25 miles out from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extending up to 435 miles from the center, mainly to the north.
On the forecast track, the center of Epsilon is expected to make its closest approach to Bermuda, east of the island, Thursday afternoon or Thursday evening. The storm is expected to be a strong Category 2 hurricane at that time with maximum sustained winds at 110 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The hurricane is not a threat to the United States, though dangerous surf and rip current conditions are expected to spread to portions of the east coast of the United States and Atlantic Canada during the next couple of days, forecasters said.
Epsilon, the 26th named storm of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season, would be the third hurricane to pass near or over Bermuda this season.
After Epsilon passes Bermuda, forecasters say it will accelerate northeast toward the North Atlantic, away from any land. It will eventually merge with a cold front and become extra-tropical though it will likely still remain a powerful cyclone.
With over a month to go until hurricane season ends Nov. 30, the 2020 hurricane season is also pushing the 2005 record of 28 named storms.
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