Hurricane Sam expected to rapidly intensify into major hurricane this weekend

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Hurricane Sam has formed in the Atlantic Ocean and it will rapidly intensify in the coming days.

Sam is located about 1,500 miles east of the Leeward Islands. It has maximum sustained winds of 75 miles per hour and is moving west at 15 mph.


Over the weekend, Sam is forecast to slow down and get stronger. It will likely be a major hurricane by Saturday.

Strengthening will continue into next week, and Sam is expected to still have sustained winds of 125 mph by Wednesday--at which point it will be nearing the Leeward Islands.

It's still too early to determine where Sam will end up, but there is some good news for the East Coast. There will be a series of troughs pushing off the coast which could help to steer Sam away.


There's also a system a bit closer to North Carolina that's got about a 40 percent chance to become a tropical depression.

The large area of showers and thunderstorms are centered a couple hundred miles east of Bermuda. The system could develop Saturday, but even if it does it won't strengthen too much and should stay out to sea.
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