Hurricane Lorenzo is expected to hit the Azores Wednesday with wave up to 72 feet high and hurricane-force wind gusts over 124 mph.
Forecasters say besides the high winds and rough seas, the islands with 250,000 people, are forecast to be drenched by torrential rain.

According to the US National Hurricane Center (NHC), the Category 2 hurricane the five central islands of the Azores are on red alert for high swells on Wednesday.

The Azores regional government sent crews out to clear drainage systems during calm before the storm on Tuesday and urged residents to prepare their homes. Schools were also closed and residents were urged to stay at home.

Just last week, Lorenzo was listed as a Category 5 hurricane – the strongest storm ever observed so far north and east in the Atlantic basin.

Portuguese weather agency expects Lorenzo to weaken to a Category 1 hurricane today as it heads northeast.

The NHC forecasts large swells around the North Atlantic basin in the coming days due to Lorenzo, producing life-threatening surf and rip tide conditions. And forecasters predict that Lorenzo will be slow to weaken but probably will be below hurricane strength as it approaches Ireland and the United Kingdom.

Lorenzo is expected to dissipate at the end of the week but not before dropping three to six inches of rain over the Azores.

After it passes the Azores, the storm will still be a powerful squall with high winds and heavy rain heading to the United Kingdom later this week.