Category 4 Hurricane Sam churns through open Atlantic

Sam is expected to move close to Bermuda this weekend

Hurricane Sam remains a powerful Category 4 storm Wednesday as it churns through the open waters of the Atlantic.

As of the 11 a.m. Eastern advisory, Sam had winds of 130 mph and a central pressure of 949 millibars. It was located about 400 miles east-northeast of the northern Leeward Islands and was moving northwestward at 9 mph.

Sam is expected to stay away from land, but it will generate some rough surf in the Lesser Antilles during the next several days. Those waves are forecast to reach the Bahamas and Bermuda on Thursday and the East Coast of the United States by the weekend. Life-threatening surf and rip current conditions are expected, so use extra caution if you have any late-season beach plans in these areas.

The latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center keeps Sam on a northwest trajectory through Thursday. The hurricane will then turn northward by Friday and northeastward over the weekend. Sam is expected to remain a major hurricane – Category 3 or higher – as its center passes east of Bermuda on Saturday.

In addition to large waves, gusty winds and some periods of heavy rain can be expected in Bermuda this weekend when Sam makes its closest pass to the archipelago.