Hurricane Sam still a threat to Lesser Antilles

Hurricane Sam is moving slowly toward the Lesser Antilles as a Category 4 storm and also near a tropical storm level atmosphere. Sam was downgraded from a Category 4 to a Category 3 storm Friday …

Hurricane Sam is moving slowly toward the Lesser Antilles as a Category 4 storm and also near a tropical storm level atmosphere.

Sam was downgraded from a Category 4 to a Category 3 storm Friday morning and was a Category 2 storm on Friday afternoon.

Despite being downgraded a couple rungs, Sam is still an impressive hurricane, with winds of 125 mph (209 kph) and gusts of 140 mph (230 kph). Sam is moving slowly, at a good clip, about 12 mph (19 kph).

Some adjustments in the forward speed and distance between hurricanes is not unexpected with Sam, and the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale notes that Sam’s speed should not be considered an accident.

“Category 3-4 hurricanes, such as Sam, are typically rather slow with 90 mph (150 kph) sustained winds and a minimum central pressure of 904 millibars or higher (Kerogen order),” according to the National Hurricane Center .

As of Friday afternoon, the Hurricane Center had upgraded Hurricane Gabrielle to a Category 2 storm , putting it off the coast of Bermuda.

Hurricane warning in effect

In addition to Sam, the Turks and Caicos are under a hurricane warning, while the southeastern Bahamas are on a tropical storm warning. Hurricane watch has been discontinued for the remainder of the Central Bahamas.

Swells generated by the disturbance are affecting Bermuda, the eastern Caribbean and the southeastern United States. Some of these swells are expected to reach North Carolina by the middle of next week.

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