by Kevon Browne
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Hurricane Sam is now a major hurricane and the strongest hurricane of the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season.
Sam is forecast to become a category four hurricane by Sunday.
At 11 a.m., the centre of Hurricane Sam was located over the tropical Atlantic Ocean about 1095 miles (1760 km) east-southeast of the northern Leeward Islands and is moving toward the west-northwest near ten mph (17 km/h). A slower motion to the west-northwest is expected to occur during the weekend, followed by a turn to the northwest on Monday, said the National Oceanic Atmospheric Association’s National Hurricane Centre.
Maximum sustained winds have increased to near 120 mph (195 km/h) with higher gusts -a category three hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Sam is a small hurricane. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 25 miles (35 km) from the centre, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 105 miles (165 km).
A tropical cyclone alert remains for the Leeward Islands and the British Virgin Islands.
Watches and warnings are not required at this time but may be necessary in the next 72 hours, according to the St. Kitts Met Service.
Hurricane Sam is projected to move sufficiently north of the island chain to spare the islands tropical cyclone wind impacts; as a result, the system poses a very low threat at this time.
However, shifts in the forecast track are possible, which could bring the system closer to the area resulting in an increased threat of tropical cyclone impacts to the islands. For this reason, residents in the Leewards and the British Virgin Islands are urged to continue to monitor the progress of this potentially dangerous system closely.