Lorenzo Rapidly Strengthens Into a Major Hurricane

Hurricane Lorenzo rapidly strengthened into a major hurricane west of the Cabo Verde Islands on Thursday.  At 6:00 a.m. EDT on Thursday the center of Hurricane Lorenzo was located at latitude 15.2°N and longitude 39.3°W which put it about 995 miles (1600 km) west of the Cabo Verde Islands.  Lorenzo was moving toward the west-northwest at 15 m.p.h. (24 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 125 m.p.h. (200 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 150 m.p.h. (240 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 955 mb.

Lorenzo was a large well organized a hurricane.  There was a circular eye at the center of circulation.  The eye was surrounded by a ring of strong thunderstorms and the strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms.  Bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of Hurricane Lorenzo.  Storms around the core were generating strong upper level divergence which was pumping mass away from the hurricane.  Winds to hurricane force extended out about 35 miles (55 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 210 miles (335 km) from the center.

Hurricane Lorenzo will move through an environment favorable for intensification during the next day or so.  Lorenzo will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 27°C.  It will move through an area where the upper level winds are weak and there will be little vertical wind shear.  Hurricane Lorenzo is likely to strengthen to Category 4 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale during the next 24 hours.  Lorenzo will move over cooler water during the weekend, which will cause the hurricane to weaken.

Hurricane Lorenzo will move around the western end of a ridge of high pressure over North Africa and the eastern Atlantic Ocean.  The ridge will steer Lorenzo toward the north during the weekend.  On its anticipated track Hurricane Lorenzo could approach the Azores next week.

Elsewhere over the Atlantic Ocean Tropical Storm Karen moved farther away from Puerto Rico.  At 5:00 a.m. EDT in Thursday the center of Tropical Storm Karen was located at latitude 25.5°N and longitude 63.5°W which put it about 520 miles (835 km) north-northeast of San Juan Puerto Rico.  Karen was moving toward the north-northeast at 15 m.p.h. (24 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 40 m.p.h. (65 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 50 m.p.h. (80 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 1004 mb.