Hurricane Sam bringing a rough surf weekend to US East Coast

MIAMI (AP) — Beachgoers along the east coast of the United States should beware of life-threatening surf and rip currents this weekend as Hurricane Sam turns northward, the National Hurricane Center said Wednesday.

Forecasters expect the Category 4 hurricane to remain at sea, but with top winds of 130 mph (215 kph), it’s already sending dangerous ocean swells to islands hundreds of miles (kilometers) away.

“Right now we’re not forecasting it to make landfall over any coastal locations, but it’s certainly a big hazard for ships at sea, and again those swells are impacting a large area of the western Atlantic,” National Hurricane Center senior specialist Richard Pasch said.

Sam was located about 455 miles (730 kilometers) east of the northern Leeward Islands, traveling northwest at 9 mph (14 kph), the Miami-based hurricane center said. Hurricane-force winds were extending outward 40 miles (65 kilometers) from its center, with top winds expected to grow to 140 mph (225 kph) in the coming days.

Forecasters said large swells are affecting the Leeward Islands and will spread to portions of the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, the Bahamas, and Bermuda by Thursday or Friday as the storm curves northward. Rough surf is expected along U.S. east coast beaches and Canada’s Atlantic provinces by the weekend.

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