Just days after Hurricane Ida left a dizzying, multi-state trail of destruction, predictors on Sunday kept a cautious eye on yet another storm that steamed across the Atlantic and could become even more violent.
Larry, now a Category 3 hurricane, could intensify into a Category 4 storm, possibly before Sunday, Accuweather meteorologists said. A Category 4 hurricane that Ida was when it landed in Louisiana has sustained winds of 130 to 156 mph. If Larry’s sustained winds rise above 150 mph, it would be the strongest storm in the Atlantic this year – even stronger than Ida, Accuweather said.
The storm was expected to turn over the open waters of the Atlantic for several days, but it could eventually approach Bermuda around the middle of the week and move close to North America, Accuweather said. “At this point, it’s most likely that Larry is going to miss the United States and stay a few hundred miles away off the northeast coast,” Accuweather said.
Still, much of the east U.S. coast could feel Larry’s effects by midweek: Big swells from the storm will “likely cause life-threatening surf and tear current conditions,” the hurricane center said.
Larry was located about 830 miles east of the Northern Leeward Islands on Sunday afternoon and moved northwest at 13 mph. Maximum sustained winds were 125 mph, with higher gusts, the National Hurricane Center said.
“A small change in strength is expected over the next few days, although fluctuations in intensity will be possible. Larry is expected to remain a major hurricane by the middle of this week,” the center said.
The storm is a major hurricane, the center said: Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 45 miles from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 175 miles.
There was a chance Larry could track far enough west to pass close or over Bermuda, AccuWeather senior meteorologist Randy Adkins said. “But as it looks at the moment, it looks more likely than not that Larry will still end up far enough east to spare Bermuda from the storm.”
Larry became the fifth hurricane — and third major hurricane — last week in an already fierce Atlantic hurricane season: 12 named storms. The season runs from June 1 to November 30; the peak is Friday.
“We’re running far ahead of schedule“Especially for named storms,” Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach told USA TODAY. On average, there would normally be about six named storms, which include both tropical storms and hurricanes, he says.
The U.S. is also running ahead in the number of named storms landing, Klotzbach said. We have had five: Danny, Elsa, Fred, Henri and Ida. Based on previous averages, the typical number of landfalls in this period is two, Klotzbach said.
Leading hurricane forecasts from AccuWeather and Weather.com agree that 2021 will see activity higher than normal.
Larry could last well into the second week of September and become the longest-lived named system so far this season, Accuweather said.
In the Ida-hit southeast, predict a brewing system that was expected to move northwest over southwestern Gulf of Mexico on Sunday, then slowly northward or northeast over the western or central Gulf. Upper winds were only expected to be “marginally conducive” to tropical cyclone formation, the hurricane center said, but a slow development is possible. Even if the tropical development is not realized, the system can cause heavy rain in the middle of the week.
Contributing: Dinah Powder, Doyle Rice
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