Sept. 28 — Hurricane Lorenzo strengthened into a strong Category 4 hurricane, but it remains far from land in the Atlantic Ocean.
Lorenzo had reached sustained winds of 160 mph — a Category 5 storm — at 11 p.m. EDT Saturday, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Lorenzo had dropped back to a Category 4 at 155 mph in a 5 a.m. Sunday update and at 5 a.m., it had declined to 115 mph — a Category 3 storm.
The eye of the storm was about 1,260 miles west-southwest of the Azores. Lorenzo was moving north-northeast at 10 mph toward the Azores and gradual weakening is forecast. It expected to remain a large and powerful hurricane as it approaches the Azores.
A turn to the north-northeast is expected later Sunday and will move faster in a northeast motion on Tuesday and Wednesday. Lorenzo is expected to move near or just west of the Azores late Tuesday and Wednesday on its forecast track.
No coastal watches or warnings are in effect.
Rainfall of to 6 inches over much of the western Azores could cause life-threatening flash flooding.
“Very intense hurricanes like Lorenzo are usually not able to maintain their intensity for very long, NHC forecaster Canglialosi said. “Since Lorenzo will be moving toward cooler waters and into an environment of drier air and higher wind shear during the next several days, steady weakening is forecast. “
Although major hurricanes like Lorenzo are not rare in the Atlantic Basin, where it is located relative to its mighty force is very unusual.
Lorenzo was officially declared a major hurricane at 6 a.m. EDT Thursday with maximum sustained winds of 125 mph. At the time, it was located at 39.3 degrees west longitude. According to Colorado State University Meteorologist Philip Klotzbach, only one hurricane on record was farther east in the Atlantic Ocean when it reached this strength, and that was Julia back in 2010.
Lorenzo is the latest of a conga line of tropical cyclones to develop in the Atlantic and Eastern Pacific Oceans.
According to Philip Klotzbach, the Western Hemisphere, which encompasses the Atlantic and eastern Pacific basins, has generated 16 named storms since Aug. 21.
“This is the most on record for the Western Hemisphere between Aug. 21-Sept. 23, breaking the old record of 15 named storms set in 1984 and 2002,” he wrote on Twitter.