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Sam Could Become A Monster Hurricane And Still Miss USVI, Puerto Rico, NHC Says

MIAMI — A tropical storm churning in the eastern Atlantic transformed into Hurricane Sam this morning and forecasters say it has a good chance of rapidly intensifying into a major hurricane by tomorrow.

Sam — the 18th named storm of the highly active 2021 Atlantic hurricane season — is currently producing top winds of 75 mph, but is expected to transform into a major category 3 storm by tomorrow afternoon with top winds of 111 to 129 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The big question — where will Sam go — remains uncertain at this time. But it is not forecast to affect the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico — at this time.

For now, forecasters at the hurricane center expect Hurricane Sam to remain in the open Atlantic during the next few days, moving towards islands in the northern Caribbean by early next week.

“Sam is moving toward the west near 16 mph and this general motion is expected to continue over the next several days, but with a gradual slowdown in forward motion,” the hurricane center said in its latest storm advisory.

Forecasters from AccuWeather say Sam could take a few different directions next week, “but they urge interests from Bermuda to the Bahamas, the East Coast of the United States and Atlantic Canada to monitor the system for potential impact.”

“What happens with Sam over the next two to three days will determine, in part, whether or not Sam becomes a threat for the Leeward Islands and Puerto Rico,” said Randy Adkins, an AccuWeather meteorologist. “The faster that Sam strengthens over the next few days the farther north it is likely to track.”

Last year’s hurricane season set an all-time record, with 30 named storms and 12 that made a direct hit on the United States. In addition, 2020 was the fifth consecutive hurricane season that was more active than normal.

With Sam included, this year’s hurricane season has generated 18 named storms, including six hurricanes — Elsa, Grace, Henri, IdaLarry and Nicholas. Sam would become the season’s seventh hurricane.

People on social media were mostly respectful of Sam’s looming presence in the tropical Atlantic this morning.

“They gah let her people them go yo know when the island them start to get up and walk we wouldn’t notice they’re giants so a split second for them issa buzz light year for us . Buh stoll let her ppl go eh telling yo guys,” Ebonay Grant said on Facebook.

“Poderoso va ser (it will be powerful),” Sandra Felicia Rodriguez Del Jesus said on Facebook.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy is primarily known for his investigative reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands. A series of reports beginning in the 1990's revealed that there was everything from coliform bacteria to Cryptosporidium in locally-bottled St. Croix drinking water, according to a then-unpublished University of the Virgin Islands sampling. Another report, following Hurricane Hugo in 1989, cited a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) confidential overview that said that over 40 percent of the U.S. Virgin Islands public lives below the poverty line. The Virgin Islands Free Press is the only Caribbean news source to regularly incorporate the findings of U.S. Freedom of Information Act requests. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is the former news director of WSVI-TV Channel 8 on St. Croix.

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