Hurricane Lorenzo Strengthens to Cat. 5 Southwest of the Azores

Hurricane Lorenzo strengthened to Category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Scale on Saturday night.  At 11:00 p.m. EDT on Saturday the center of Hurricane Lorenzo was located at latitude 24.2°N and longitude 44.9°W which put it about 1420 miles (2285 km) southwest of the Azores.  Lorenzo was moving toward the north at 10 m.p.h. (16 km/h).  The maximum sustained wind speed was 160 m.p.h. (260 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 190 m.p.h. (305 km/h).  The minimum surface pressure was 925 mb.

Hurricane Lorenzo strengthened to Category 5 farther east in the Atlantic Ocean than other hurricane on record.  Lorenzo appeared to complete an eyewall replacement cycle earlier on Saturday and then it start to strengthen quickly.  A circular eye with a diameter of 35 miles (55 km) became evident at the center of circulation.  A ring of very strong thunderstorms surrounded the eye and the strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms.  Bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the core of Hurricane Lorenzo.

The circulation around Hurricane Lorenzo was large.  Wins to hurricane force extended out about 50 miles (80 km) from the center of circulation.  Winds to tropical storm force extended out about 275 miles (445 km) from the center.  The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) was 35.0.  The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 21.2 and the Hurricane Wind intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 56.2.

Hurricane Lorenzo will remain in a very favorable environment for another 12 to 24 hours.  It will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperature is near 28°C.  An upper level trough will approach Lorenzo from the west later on Sunday.  The trough will produce southwesterly winds which will create more wind shear.  Hurricane Lorenzo will start to weaken when the wind shear increases.  Lorenzo will also move over cooler water on Monday, which will cause more weakening.

The upper level trough will steer Hurricane Lorenzo toward the northeast during the next few days.  On its anticipated track Hurricane Lorenzo could approach the Azores on Tuesday night.  Lorenzo is likely to be a hurricane when it reaches the Azores.  Hurricane Lorenzo will eventually make a transition to a strong extratropical cyclone.  It could be near Ireland in four or five days.