Winds of 155mph have been recorded as record-breaking Hurricane Lorenzo creeps across the Atlantic.
The hurricane set a record overnight for being the strongest ever to make it so far east, as it was officially recognised as a “category five” storm.
The US National Hurricane Centre said that the storm has maximum sustained winds of 155mph (250kph) and is moving north towards the Azores, the Portuguese island chain.
The Met Office has warned that its remnants could hit parts of the UK in the coming days.
Lorenzo has been continuing on its northern path after being declared by experts as “the strongest hurricane east of 45 degrees west longitude in the Atlantic on record”.
It was predicted to turn northeast on Sunday.
Although major hurricanes like Lorenzo are not rare in the Atlantic Basin, where it is located relative to its force is very unusual.
The storm’s quick growth was also rare for Atlantic hurricanes, which usually gain intensity further west.
Lorenzo was officially declared a major hurricane on Thursday with maximum sustained winds of 125mph. At the time, it was located 39.3 degrees west longitude.
Colorado State University meteorologist Philip Klotzbach later tweeted: “Lorenzo now has max winds of 145mph – the strongest #hurricane east of 45°W in the Atlantic on record.”
On Saturday, America’s National Hurricane Centre said Lorenzo was “still a major hurricane”.
It said: “Swells generated by Lorenzo are affecting portions of the northeastern coast of South America and the Lesser Antilles, and are expected to spread westward to portions of the north coasts of the Greater Antilles, the Bahamas, Bermuda, and the east coast of the United States during the next few days.
“Swells are also expected to build near the Azores on Sunday and Monday. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.
“As of 11am AST/EDT (4pm UK time on Saturday) the centre of Hurricane Lorenzo was located over the central Atlantic Ocean about 1,500 miles (2,415km) southwest of the Azores.
“Maximum sustained winds are near 115mph (185kph) with higher gusts – a category three hurricane.”