Sun Sentinel: SOUTH FLORIDA – Hurricane Larry, a Category 3 storm with sustained winds of 125 miles per hour, remained on track to grow into a Category 4 hurricane as it continued its march across the Atlantic on Saturday morning, forecasters said.

The storm is expected to strengthen to 140 mph, which gets it to Category 4 status (winds between 130 and 156 mph), by Sunday night, according to the National Hurricane Center.

AccuWeather, the independent forecast service, predicts Larry could achieve Category 4 status Saturday night or early Sunday while still in the Atlantic and not near land.

The storm, which had 115 mph winds early Saturday morning, is no immediate threat to land but may approach Bermuda late next week. It’s unclear whether it could later pose a threat to the northeastern United States of eastern Canada.

As of 11am Larry was moving west-northwest at 15 mph and located 1,055 miles east of the Caribbean Sea.

Larry is the third major hurricane of the season, along with Grace, a Category 3, and Ida, a Category 4.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 160 miles.

Although Larry could eventually threaten Bermuda or North America, possibly the northeast United States or Newfoundland, there are no coastal watches or warnings in effect as of now. But forecasters are keeping an eye on Larry.

“There is certainly a chance that Larry tracks far enough to the west to pass close to or even over Bermuda, likely as a major hurricane,” AccuWeather senior meteorologist Randy Adkins said.

“However, as it currently stands, it appears more likely than not that Larry will still end up far enough to the east to spare Bermuda the brunt of the storm.”

Larry, such as most hurricanes, is carrying the bulk of its worst weather in its northeast quadrant, which would miss Bermuda if the storm stays on the current forecast track. But AccuWeather said Bermuda could still get wind gusts between 40 and 60 mph.

Hurricane Larry, a Category 3 storm with winds at 125 miles per hour, could grow into a Category 4 storm with winds at 140 mph as soon as Saturday night, according to forecasters.
Hurricane Larry, a Category 3 storm with winds at 125 miles per hour, could grow into a Category 4 storm with winds at 140 mph as soon as Saturday night, according to forecasters. (National Hurricane Center)

Forecasters say conditions support rapid development.

Forecasters said there’s a chance Larry exists until next week, becoming the longest-lived system of the season, surpassing Ida, which lasted nine days (July 1-9).

The 12th named storm of the year is on track to enter an area with even warmer sea-surface temperatures and lower levels of vertical wind shear.

There are only five years in the satellite era, which began in 1966, that had three major hurricanes by Sept. 4: 2008, 2005, 2004, 1996 and 1969, according to Colorado State University hurricane expert Phil Klotzbach.

Also, Klotzbach said, Larry is forecast to remain a major hurricane for the next five days. The last hurricane to maintain major status (Category 3 or higher) for five days was Maria in 2017.

Meanwhile, forecasters are watching one other area.

An area of low pressure in the western Caribbean is over portions of Central America and Mexico’s western Yucatan Peninsula. It’s given a low chance of further development.

A second area of low pressure area formed late Thursday morning about 150 miles southwest of the coast of west Africa, according to the hurricane center. However, that system has dissipated.

AccuWeather hurricane expert Dan Kottlowski said forecasters are watching an area near Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas for the next few days because its near the tail end of a front that could stall nearby. Forecasters said if a low-pressure system separates it’s possible for a tropical system to develop.

The next named storm to form would be Mindy.