Hurricane Sam 6mph short of being Cat 5 as it passed Bermuda
It’s now forecast to move towards Greenland – the most powerful hurricane of the season so far, which was very close to reaching Category 5 status as it passed Bermuda.
At its closest point, Sam was 212 miles from the island at 11pm on Friday and at the time of its passage, the storm boasted sustained winds of 145mph with even higher gusts.
Earlier in the day meteorologists recorded sustained winds of 150mph – just 6mph shy of Category 5 conditions.
Weather radar showed the outer edges of the Category 4 storm remained about 109 miles to the east-northeast.
Bermuda Weather Service reported that a north-northwest wind became “blustery” for a time with the sensor at the National Museum of Bermuda in Dockyard keeping the two-minute speed averages fluctuating around 40mph.
BWS said on Saturday afternoon: “Gusty northerly winds and rough seas gradually ease and subside into Sunday morning as high pressure moves in from the west. This brings plenty of dry weather and cooler temperatures for the start of the new week.”
A small craft warning remained in effect through Saturday.
BWS added: “The day saw patchy cloud under brightening skies as high pressure began to build into the area in the wake of exiting Major Category 4 Hurricane Sam.
“A few showers continued to pass into the area in the northerly flow. Moderate to strong and gusty northerly winds persisted through the morning, beginning to ease by the afternoon.
“Also, Hurricane Sam could be seen quickly moving away to the northeast away from the Island. Sam continues to appear quite impressive on satellite imagery and remains a major hurricane in the Atlantic.”
As of today, Hurricane Sam had fallen to Category 2 and was expected to weaken further as it drifts Northeast away from Bermuda.
The massive storm also proved a test-bed for researchers at the US-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who dropped an unmanned SD 1045 drone into the heart of the hurricane.
Video and images captured by the drone while it gathered data on Thursday highlighted the 50ft waves and 120mph winds.
Greg Foltz, a NOAA scientist, said: “Using data collected by saildrones, we expect to improve forecast models that predict rapid intensification of hurricanes.
“Rapid intensification, when hurricane winds strengthen in a matter of hours, is a serious threat to coastal communities.
“New data from saildrones and other uncrewed systems that NOAA is using will help us better predict the forces that drive hurricanes and be able to warn communities earlier."
The 2021 hurricane season was forecast to be more active than usual and has already produced more storms than an average season with almost 2 months still remaining.
So far 20 named storms have been recorded, of which seven became hurricanes and four reached at least Category 3 strength.
For the latest information on other active tropical systems in our region, visit the National Hurricane Centre Tropical Weather Outlook, visit: https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/gtwo.php?basin=atlc&fdays=5