Orlando Sentinel FLORIDA, By Richard Tribou Hurricane Tammy gained strength before beginning its sideswipe of several Caribbean islands on Saturday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

As of 8am, the Category 1 hurricane had maximum sustained winds of 80 mph with higher gusts, located about 50 miles east of Dominica and 65 miles southeast of Guadeloupe moving northwest at 9 mph.

“Fluctuations in intensity are possible during the next few days, but Tammy is expected to remain a hurricane while it passes near or over the Leeward Islands,” forecasters said.

It became the season’s seventh hurricane as it approached the northern Leeward Islands on Thursday morning, and spun up to 80 mph sustained winds overnight.

A hurricane warning remains in effect for Guadeloupe, Antigua, Barbuda, Montserrat, St Kitts, Nevis, Anguilla, St Maarten, St Martin and St Barthelemy with a hurricane watch and tropical storm warning in place for Dominica, Saba and St Eustatius, and tropical storm watches in place for Martinique and the British Virgin Islands.

Its long-term path has it taking a turn north into the Atlantic after dousing the Caribbean islands and steering away from land.

Hurricane-force winds extend out up to 25 miles and tropical-storm-force winds extend out up to 125 miles from its center as conditions continue to deteriorate across the islands Saturday, expected to bring as much as 12 inches of rain across the Leewards, up to 6 inches in portions of the Windward Islands and as much as 4 inches in the Virgin Islands and parts of Puerto Rico through Sunday.

The heavy rainfall and plodding movement of the storm could bring isolated flash and urban flooding as well as mudslides in areas of higher terrain, the NHC said. Storm surge would rise as much as 3 feet in some areas as dangerous waves accompany the storm.

Its swells continue to affect portions of the Lesser Antilles with life-threatening surf and rip current conditions, the NHC said.

Tammy is the 20th official storm of the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season, which runs through Nov. 30.

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Top Feature Photo This satellite image shows water vapor from Hurricane Tammy as it approaches the Caribbean on Saturday, Oct 21, 2023.© Orlando Sentinel/TNS