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Hurricane Sam wind speed grows to 85 mph and will continue to rapidly intensify to Category 4

Keven Lerner, Chris Perkins and Angie DiMichele, South Florida Sun Sentinel on

Published in News & Features

U.S. models have the storm continuing to move west toward the Caribbean, but most projections have Sam pushing north just before making landfall in Dominica. European models have Sam making a more aggressive push into the Caribbean before turning north.

AccuWeather forecasters said Sam could run into disruptive wind shear next week if it takes a path near the Bahamas and Cuba.

“The faster that this system strengthens over the next few days, the more likely it is to re-curve east of Florida, and potentially well east of Florida,” according to AccuWeather meteorologist Randy Adkins.

“(However) if this storm takes a little while longer to organize and develop into a hurricane, then that will likely keep it on a track that’s farther to the south and likely increase the likelihood that Florida could see some impacts from this system.”

Adkins said any potential impact from Sam wouldn’t be felt for another week or so, during the first weekend of October.

Sam is the second earliest 18th named storm to form in the Atlantic basin, only behind the 2020 season.

Meanwhile, Peter and Rose dissipated Thursday.

A tropical wave is expected to roll off Africa’s west coast by end of the weekend. It’s forecast to move west at 10 to 15 mph and it has a medium chance of development in five days. The hurricane center said the system could turn into a tropical depression by the middle of next week.

Adkins expects hurricane season will remain busy for the next few weeks.

 

“There’s definitely precedent, and unfortunately it seems like last year is a relatively close match for this year in terms of how things have evolved,” he said in reference to the record 30 named storms of the 2020 hurricane season.

“Obviously, last year was a bit busier but we’re well above average already to date with this hurricane season. Given that, I would anticipate we’re going to have activity continue through the remainder of the month and into October.”

The wind shear that kept former tropical storms Peter and Rose from developing into stronger systems is expected to be weak for the next several days, which will support Sam’s development, as will warm water temperatures in the Atlantic.

“Rose and Peter were in a much more hostile environment, especially Peter,” said Dennis Feltgen, a meteorologist and spokesperson for the National Hurricane Center in Miami. “Sam will certainly be growing into a tropical storm, a hurricane and a major hurricane.”

Tropical Depression Rose was a remnant low by early Thursday. Tropical Depression Peter died out Wednesday night.

The remaining storm names for the 2021 season are Teresa, Victor and Wanda, with more than two months to go.

Should we run out of storm names, late-season storms will no longer carry baffling Greek names like Zeta and Theta that were used last year. Experts have opted to use an overflow list of proper names instead. The list includes Adria, Braylen, Caridad, Deshawn, Emery, Foster, Gemma and Heath.

So far in the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs through Nov. 30, there have been 19 named storms, seven hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

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