Tropical Storm Leslie neared hurricane strength in the Atlantic Ocean on a path toward Bermuda at week’s end.
The storm was 470 miles (756 kilometers) south-southeast of Bermuda with winds of 70 miles per hour, according to a National Hurricane Center advisory at 11 a.m. Atlantic time. A storm becomes a hurricane when sustained winds reach 74 mph.
On its current track, Leslie is forecast to approach Bermuda with winds as high as 110 mph, which would make the storm a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. The system is already stirring high surf from Bermuda to U.S. East Coast beaches.
“Leslie is very near hurricane strength and conditions are expected to become quite favorable for additional intensification to occur through at least 96 hours,” Stacy Stewart, a senior hurricane specialist at the center, said in a forecast analysis.
Leslie’s storm-strength winds reach out 230 miles, about equal to the distance from Boston to New York City. The system’s size and slow forward motion of 2 miles per hour may generate large waves, Stewart said.
A high-surf advisory has been issued for Cape Cod in Massachusetts and there is a risk of rip currents along the southern coast of Long Island, New Jersey and Virginia, according to the National Weather Service.
Farther east in the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Michael, with winds of 50 mph, was 1,155 miles west-southwest of the Azores, the NHC said in an advisory.
An area of low pressure over southern Alabama and the Florida Panhandle is expected to move into the north-central Gulf of Mexico today. The system has a 10 percent chance of becoming tropical in two days, the Miami-based NHC said.