Tropical Storm Sam likely to intensify into a major hurricane

Published on : Friday, September 24, 2021

Storm Sam

Tropical storm Sam has reportedly formed in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean on Thursday, September 24, 2021 and is expected to be intensified into a massive hurricane over the weekend. It is the fourth named storm to develop in less than a week and the 18th overall in the frequent hurricane season this year.

According to the National Hurricane Center, the storm had strengthened throughout the day with maximum sustained winds of about 70 mph as of 11 p.m. EDT with additional strengthening expected to occur over the next few days. The storm was centered about 1,560 miles east-southeast of the northern Leeward Islands and was moving west about 15 mph.

Sam was initially a minor storm that has now rapidly intensified and expected to become a hurricane very soon. As of now, no coastal watches or warnings have been announced. The Hurricane Center mentioned that storm Sam could whip up into a major hurricane before approaching the islands of the northern Caribbean next week. 

The organization mentioned that maximum sustained winds of the storm have increased and rapid intensification is forecast to continue through early Saturday. The storm is likely to become a hurricane and then a major hurricane by Friday night or early Saturday. As per Accuweather, storm Sam was expected to take a west to west-northwest track across the central Atlantic over the weekend.

However, the landfall of the possible hurricane is currently uncertain. Experts have asked Bermuda, the Bahamas and the U.S. East Coast to remain cautious. Forecasters said Sam could also mimic Hurricane Larry earlier this month and kick up dangerous surf and rip currents along the Eastern Seaboard.

Sam is the 13th named storm to form in the Atlantic since August 11, according to Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach. And only one other hurricane season on record has had 18 named storms by September 23, he said. 2020 had 23 named storms by that date.

So far this year has seen six hurricanes and three major hurricanes (Category 3 or stronger): Grace, Ida and Larry. In August, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its updated hurricane season forecast for the year: seven to 10 hurricanes; 15 to 21 named storms. 

Tropical Storm Odette formed on Friday, followed days later by Peter and Rose. All three storms have since dissipated. The links between hurricanes and climate change have become more prominent. A warming planet can expect stronger hurricanes over time and a higher incidence of the most powerful storms— though the overall number of storms could drop, because factors like stronger wind shear could keep weaker storms from forming.

Last year, there were 30 named storms, including six major hurricanes, forcing meteorologists to exhaust the alphabet for the second time and move to using Greek letters. It was the most named storms on record, surpassing the 28 from 2005, and the second-highest number of hurricanes.

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