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FIRST ALERT: Sam strengthens into a hurricane

Published: Sep. 24, 2021 at 5:06 AM EDT|Updated: Sep. 24, 2021 at 11:14 AM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Sam remains a category one hurricane in the latest update and is expected to become a major hurricane by this weekend.

Sam is a category one hurricane.
Sam is a category one hurricane.(WMBF)

At 11 AM, the center of Hurricane Sam was located near latitude 11.8 North, longitude 43.7 West. Sam is moving just north of due west near 14 mph and this motion is expected to continue through tonight. A decrease in forward speed and a motion toward the west-northwest are expected over the weekend. Maximum sustained winds remain near 75 mph with higher gusts.

Sam will become a major hurricane this weekend.
Sam will become a major hurricane this weekend.(WMBF)

Rapid intensification is forecast to resume over the next several days and Sam is likely to become a major hurricane on Saturday. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 15 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 60 miles (95 km). The estimated minimum central pressure is 993 mb.

Keep in mind this is far out but some steering mechanics in our forecast look promising to keep...
Keep in mind this is far out but some steering mechanics in our forecast look promising to keep this system offshore. Watch and wait for now.(WMBF)

So what about the Carolinas? For now, models continue to bounce back and forth on where Sam could go. The good news? Majority of the models continue to trend with a turn to the north by late next week, keeping this storm offshore. If models can keep the cutoff low across the Carolinas, there will be no other path expect to our east as high pressure remains over the Atlantic. For now, we will watch and wait! You enjoy this beautiful weekend forecast.

Other Areas To Watch

We keep an eye on three other chances of development as we head into the weekend.
We keep an eye on three other chances of development as we head into the weekend.(WMBF)

Area 1

A large area of showers and thunderstorms centered a couple hundred miles east of Bermuda is associated with a formative surface low interacting with an upper-level trough. Additional tropical or subtropical development of this system could occur through early Saturday as it moves generally north-northwestward. After that time, development is not expected due to strong upper-level winds. Additional information on this system, including gale warnings, can be found in High Seas Forecasts issued by the National Weather Service. Chance of development is at 40% for both the next two and five days.

Area 2

A gale-force, non-tropical low pressure system, the remnants of Odette, is located a little less than 600 miles west-northwest of the westernmost Azores. Showers and thunderstorms remain limited near the low, and the window of opportunity for this system to become a subtropical or tropical cyclone is closing as strong upper-level winds are expected to develop over the system later today. This system will move generally south-southeastward over the next day or two. Additional information on this system, including gale warnings, can be found in High Seas Forecasts issued by the National Weather Service. The chance of development remains low at 20% over the next two and five days.

Area 3

A tropical wave is expected to move off the west coast of Africa by the end of this weekend. Thereafter, environmental conditions are forecast to be conducive for gradual development, and a tropical depression could form by the middle of next week while the system moves westward at 10 to 15 mph over the far eastern tropical Atlantic. The chance of development is at 40% over the next five days.

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