Leslie Strengthens Into a Hurricane East of Bermuda

Former Tropical Storm Leslie strengthened into a hurricane east of Bermuda on Wednesday morning.  At 11:00 a.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Hurricane Leslie was located at latitude 29.5°N and longitude 56.8°W which put it about 510 miles (825 km) east-southeast of Bermuda.  Leslie was nearly stationary.  The maximum sustained wind speed was 80 m.p.h. (130 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 95 m.p.h. (155 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 975 mb.

After being designated as a subtropical storm, Hurricane Leslie made a transition to an extratropical cyclone and then back to a subtropical storm.  Leslie eventually moved over warmer water and the structure changed to that of a tropical storm, which intensified slowly until it reached hurricane intensity earlier this morning.  It is gradually exhibiting the classical appearance and structure of a hurricane.

There is a circular eye at the center of circulation.  A nearly complete ring of thunderstorms surrounds the eye and the strongest winds are occurring in that ring of storms.  Several bands of showers and thunderstorms are revolving around the core of Hurricane Leslie.  Storms near the core are generating upper level divergence which is pumping mass away from the hurricane, which is causing the surface pressure to decrease.  Winds to hurricane force extend out about 35 miles (55 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extend out about 230 miles (370 km) from the center.

Hurricane Leslie will remain in an environment favorable for intensification for another day or two.  Leslie will remain over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 27.5°C.  it will be in a region where the upper level winds are weak and there will be little vertical wind shear.  Hurricane Leslie is likely to get a little stronger during the next day or so.  Leslie will move over cooler water later this week and it will start to weaken when that happens.

Hurricane Leslie has been in an area where the steering winds were weak which is why it has meandered east of Bermuda during the past few days.  A subtropical ridge southeast of Leslie will strengthen during the next day or two and the ridge will start to steer the hurricane toward the north.  On its anticipated track Hurricane Leslie will move farther away from Bermuda later this week.