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Hurricane Leslie is moving at a crawl in the Atlantic south of Bermuda and probably won’t start strengthening until tomorrow on a path past the islands.
The storm’s top winds have remained about 75 miles (121 kilometers) per hour since yesterday and it’s 430 miles south- southeast of Bermuda, moving north at 2 miles per hour, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.
“Leslie has barely moved since last night,” the center said in an advisory at 11 a.m. New York time. “No significant change in strength is expected today.”
High wind shear has been tearing at Leslie and the storm has been pulling up colder ocean water, according to the center. That has been holding the system’s strength down.
Eventually, Leslie, now a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale, is expected to develop top winds of 105 mph, which would bump it up a level to a Category 2, the center said. The storm’s current track would take it east of Bermuda this weekend and possibly into Newfoundland next week.
Newfoundland was hit hard in 2010 by Hurricane Igor, which followed a similar path. Winds of 105 mph were recorded, and 90 cities and towns were isolated after 9.4 inches of rain fell, washing out roads, according to a provincial report.
The Fire and Emergency Services of Newfoundland and Labrador are monitoring Leslie’s track, according to a statement from the agency.
“Officials with Environment Canada and the Canadian Hurricane Centre indicate there is significant uncertainty around this system, but we remain on the alert,” it said.
Any impact on Canada is days away and a lot can happen, said Tom Downs, a meteorologist with Weather 2000 in New York.
“It is all highly dependent on the track,” Downs said. “Everything is pointing to the Newfoundland coast, but 100 miles to the east and it misses it altogether.”
North Atlantic Refining Ltd. has a 115,000 barrel-a-day refinery in Come-By-Chance, Newfoundland, at the northern end of Placentia Bay about 90 miles west of the provincial capital of St. John’s.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Michael strengthened to become the first Category 3 hurricane of the Atlantic season, the NHC said in a separate advisory. The system was 980 miles west-southwest of the Azores with winds of 115 mph. The system is churning northeast at 7 mph and poses no immediate threat to land.
The hurricane center is also tracking a remnant of Hurricane Isaac that has re-entered the Gulf of Mexico and has a 40 percent chance of becoming a tropical system in the next two days.
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