by Kevon Browne
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Sam has strengthened to a category one hurricane and is likely to become a major hurricane on Saturday (September 25), according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s National Hurricane Center.
As of 11 a.m, Friday morning, Hurricane Sam was located over the eastern tropical Atlantic Ocean about 1165 miles (2200 km) east-southeast of the northern Leeward Islands. 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 its forward speed and a motion toward the west-northwest are expected during the weekend.
No coastal watches or warnings are in effect.
Sam’s maximum sustained winds have increased to near 75 mph (120 km/h) with higher gusts. Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 15 miles (30 km) from the centre, and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 60 miles (95 km). The island chain can expect to start feeling the effects of the winds as early as Tuesday (September 28) based on predictions.
Senior Met Officer Elmo Burke Issued this statement Friday morning, “Based on the current trajectory, we anticipate the system to pass generally to our north as a major hurricane. Nonetheless, we [ask] residents to continuously monitor the situation as the system continues to approach the island chain. We [will be] providing daily updates, periodic updates as to the weather conditions, [and] the movement of this hurricane as it approaches the island chain so that persons can respond if needs be. At this moment, there isn’t any imminent threat to us here in St Kitts and Nevis. However, we are just asking the general public to remain alert and pay attention to information emanating from both the St. Kitts Met Service as well as NEMA.”
Sam is the seventh hurricane of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season.