Earl becomes a Category 4 Hurricane

– Earl today became a dangerous Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 215 mph as it moves through the warm waters in the Caribbean, U.S. forecasters said.

“We forecast additional strengthening”, predicted the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) in the 2100 GMT bulletin.

The eye of the storm was at that point in time 180 kilometers northeast of San Juan, Puerto Rico at latitude 19.3º N and longitude 64.7º W.

It was moving west-northwest at 15 mph, and is forecast to turn northwest on Tuesday and on this path the eye of the storm would pass far from the Virgin Islands and East of Turks and Caicos Islands.

The five-day forecast indicates that Earl could affect the U.S. East Coast beginning Thursday.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) updated its forecast and predicted 14 to 20 storms and 8-12 hurricanes that could strike the United States, the Caribbean, Central America and the Gulf of Mexico.

Forecasters predicted it will be a “very active” season because of these hurricanes, four to six could be of great intensity, with winds over 177 mph.

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