Hurricane Sam at Category 4 strength; forecasters watching 3 other areas for potential development

Ron Hurtibise and Steve Svekis, South Florida Sun Sentinel on

Published in Weather News

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Hurricane Sam, a powerful Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 145 mph, is expected to begin a slow weakening in the next couple of days, while retaining its status as a major hurricane, forecasters said.

Sam’s intensity is expected to drop as it encounters storm-shredding wind shear this week, but it’s expected to remain a major hurricane for at least the next five days, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Sam is due to take a turn to the northwest by Monday and maintain that path through midweek, which would turn it away from Florida and the Caribbean.

As of 11 a.m. EDT Sunday, Sam was about 940 miles east-southeast of the far eastern Caribbean, moving west-northwest at 8 mph.

Sam, the fourth major hurricane of 2021, underwent rapid intensification Saturday, quickly going from a Category 2 hurricane early Saturday with 110 mph winds to a Category 4 hurricane.

Early Sunday, Sam’s hurricane-force-winds extended 30 miles from its center and its tropical-storm-force winds extend out 105 miles.

Tropical Storm Teresa, the second-earliest 19th named storm to form in the Atlantic basin, was short-lived, dissipating by 2 a.m. Sunday.

Forecasters are watching several other areas for potential storm development.


A tropical wave is expected to roll off Africa’s west coast by Monday. 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.

There’s also an area of low pressure forecast to form west of the tropical wave. That area has low odds of developing as it moves west during the next week.

Lastly, there’s a slight chance that the remnants of Tropical Storm Peter could develop southeast of Bermuda, forecasters said.

The remaining storm names for the 2021 season are Victor and Wanda.

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 four major hurricanes.

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