Hurricane Sam intensifies to Category 4 with winds reaching 145 mph

  • Forecasters hope Sam will stay far enough offshore to avoid major damage.
  • A jump into the jet stream would keep Sam away from the US

Hurricane Sam stormed west through the Atlantic Basin on Sunday, a strong Category 4 storm that forecasters hoped would stay far enough from land to avoid major damage, with its 145 mph winds and heavy rainfall.

AccuWeather forecasters said traveling west through the northern islands of the Caribbean was unlikely. Diving into the jet stream would keep Sam away from the US, said AccuWeather meteorologist Bernie Rayno.

“But if that jet stream dip dips further west or meanders west, Sam has room next weekend to get very close to the US,” said Rayno.

This scenario helped steer Superstorm Sandy westward into New Jersey nine years ago. Sandy was ultimately blamed for nearly 300 deaths in multiple nations and nearly $ 70 billion in damage.

AccuWeather forecasters didn’t forecast an outcome similar to Sandy, but warned of a number of possibilities for the future course of the hurricane, including a scenario that could result in Sam tracking very close to the United States

“Even if Sam stays east of the US by the end of this week through next weekend, the seas along the Atlantic coast from central Florida to Maine could rise with increasing surf and increasing rip currents,” said AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Rob Miller.

“Small but dangerous”: Sam strengthens himself against a big hurricane

That could start as early as the middle of the week along the southern portion of the US coast and then expand northward by next weekend. A non-tropical storm related to the jet stream could increase the intensity of the surf along part of the Atlantic coast and create its own rain zone by the end of this week, AccuWeather said.

Some fluctuations in intensity are expected over the next day or so before Sam is likely to slowly wear off, the National Weather Service said.

Sam is the 18th named storm of the Atlantic season and the seventh hurricane. Only one other hurricane season – 2020 – had 18 named storms at this point in the season. The remaining names on the list this year are Teresa, Victor, and Wanda.

A supplemental list approved by the World Meteorological Organization would replace the Greek alphabet used during last year’s record season. The complementary list: Adria, Braylen, Caridad, Deshawn, Emery, Foster, Gemma and Heath.

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