Sam now a Category 4 hurricane

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Sept. 24 (UPI) — Hurricane Sam has rapidly intensified to a Category 4 and is expected to continue gaining strength over Saturday night.

In its 5 p.m.. EDT update, the National Hurricane Center said the storm was located about 1,025 miles southeast of the Northern Leeward Islands. Its maximum sustained winds have increased to 140 mph and was moving northwest at 10 mph. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 30 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 105 miles, according to the center.

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The agency earlier described the storm as a “small” hurricane, and anticipated it would further strengthen as it moves through the Atlantic.

Category 4 hurricanes are the second-highest in the classification storm and are marked by sustained winds of 130 to 156 mph.

There are no coastal watches or warnings in effect, the center said. But some fluctuation in the hurricane’s intensity are possible early next week.

“Swells generated by Sam are forecast to reach the Lesser Antilles early next week,” the center said. “These swells could cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.”

Sam is the 18th named storm and the seventh hurricane of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season.

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