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Updated: 9/29/2019 8:03:24 AM
" Extremely strong winds are expected, with gusts of 180 km/h in Pico and Faial island of Azores, while the remaining Central group of islands can be hit with gusts of 120 km/h, " said the president of the Regional Civil Protection Service and Firefighters of the Azores (SRPCBA), Carlos Neves, at a press conference in Angra do Heroísmo. “Unlike in previous situations, where the hurricanes that headed for our archipelago, fortunately, bypassed this case, and according to information from IPMA (Portuguese Institute of Sea and Atmosphere), there is even a strong likelihood that this hurricane will hit us,” he said. Met Éireann is tracking a violent category 5 hurricane which could make landfall in Ireland on Thursday. A hurricane of similar wind speeds, Lorenzo is now the second Atlantic hurricane to have reached CAT5, after hurricane Dorian which devastated the Bahamas earlier in the month. There is considerable uncertainty about the future evolution of Lorenzo: while the future track is rather well constrained, the strength is less so. It will likely remain a major hurricane for at least another 48 hours.
Hurricane Lorenzo rapidly strengthened into a category five hurricane on Saturday evening, with maximum sustained winds reaching an incredible 259 km/h.
This breaks the record for both the easternmost and northernmost category five hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic Ocean; before this sudden strengthening, Lorenzo was already the strongest storm ever recorded so far east in the Atlantic.
"Swells generated by Lorenzo are affecting portions of the northeastern coast of South America and the Lesser Antilles and are expected to spread westward to portions of the north coasts of the Greater Antilles, the Bahamas, Bermuda, and the east coast of the United States during the next few days," the National Hurricane Center predicted Saturday.
The Azores will start to feel Lorenzo's impact Sunday when the hurricane will turn northward. "Swells are also expected to build near the Azores on Sunday and Monday. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions. Please consult products from your local weather office," the center advised.
Azores Civil Protection Authority has declared today highest level of alert for damaging winds and ocean waves. Expected winds can reach 180 km/h.
This is the second spike in Lorenzo’s strength in the past couple of days. After some brief weakening, and against all odds, Lorenzo’s eyewall became very well organized on Saturday evening and the storm rapidly strengthened into a category five hurricane.
Lorenzo is the second category five hurricane we’ve seen in the Atlantic Ocean so far this year, and the sixth such storm to form in the Atlantic in the last four years.
Lorenzo is seriously out of place for such a large and intense hurricane. The previous easternmost category five on record, according to meteorologist Eric Blake, occurred 30 years ago when Hurricane Hugo topped the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale about 600 miles west of where Lorenzo peaked.
Farther north and to the East, meteorologists in Ireland and the United Kingdom are keeping a wary eye on the record-breaking hurricane. "At this stage its impact on Ireland is uncertain. Met Eireann is closely monitoring the progress of Lorenzo," the Irish national weather service reported.
On Saturday, Irish Weather Online urged caution for the end of the week in a Facebook post, writing: "Storm Lorenzo watch is now in the forecast as models changed the track overnight, bringing the remnant extratropical low straight towards Ireland. Too early to give any definite forecast but charts this morning on some of the most reliable models indicate the potential for 120-140 km/hr gusts especially near the west coast but at least 100-120 km/hr in many areas. This could change again closer to the time...Very much a wait and see the situation now but the arrival would be early to mid-day Thursday 3rd."