Hurricane Sam

>Courtesy of NOAA

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported that Tropical Storm Sam is already a hurricane and is expected to continue to strengthen in the coming days.

In the NHC's most recent bulletin concerning Sam, the entity said that the hurricane is taking a momentary pause in its strengthening, but warned that "rapid intensification forecast to resume soon."

According to the NHC, at 11:00 a.m. AST, 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 (22 km/h) 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," the notice reads.

The cyclone's maximum sustained winds remain near 75 mph with higher gusts, while rapid intensification is forecast to resume over the next several days. Sam is likely to become a major hurricane on Saturday, the entity warned.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 15 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 60 miles. The estimated minimum central pressure is 29.33 inches.

The agency reported that "over the next 24-36 hours, Sam is expected to maintain a general west to west-northwest heading but will slow down gradually as the strongest mid-level ridging becomes oriented more to the northwest of the hurricane. This ridge repositioning is thanks in part to a strong deep-layer trough well northeast of Sam that is digging in south of the Azores. Towards the end of the forecast, this trough will cutoff and gradually decay, allow the mid-level ridging to build-in back east as another deep-layer trough becomes established just off the eastern United States coastline."

The NHC has not yet issued any warnings or surveillance for any territory.

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