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Hurricane Lorenzo Moves Quickly Toward The Azores

A man secures his boat before the arrival of Hurricane Lorenzo in Angra do Heroismo in the Azores islands, Portugal, on Tuesday.
Rafael Marchante
A man secures his boat before the arrival of Hurricane Lorenzo in Angra do Heroismo in the Azores islands, Portugal, on Tuesday.

Updated at 10:59 p.m. ET

Tropical storm-force winds have reached the tiny Atlantic islands of the Azores, an autonomous region of Portugal, as Hurricane Lorenzo continues to move northward. Hurricane conditions are expected to hit portions of the islands early Wednesday.

The Category 2 hurricane formed early last week off the shore of western Africa as a tropical depression.

A hurricane warning is in effect for the archipelago, which is home to about 245,000 people. The National Hurricane Center has forecastthat the storm will bring 1 to 2 inches of rain and life-threatening surf and rip current conditions in much of the Atlantic basin.

The 11 p.m. ET report shows Lorenzo located about 85 miles west-southwest of the western island Flores and is moving northeast at 40 mph, with winds of 100 mph.

Lorenzo strengthened into a Category 5 hurricane on Saturday night before gradually weakening. The NHC reported that Lorenzo broke records during its time classified as Category 5. "It is the strongest hurricane on record this far north and east in the Atlantic basin," the organization tweeted.

Eric Blake, a forecaster at the NHC, tweeted that Lorenzo became a hurricane almost 600 miles east of the previous easternmost Category 5 hurricane, 1989's Hugo.

Officials in the Azores said they are monitoring the hurricane's movement. Twenty-five firefighters have been deployed from neighboring islands to those in the direct path of Lorenzo.

The hurricane is expected to weaken to a tropical depression after it passes near the Azores and moves into colder waters over the next 48 hours. However, it is still expected to bring stormy conditions other countries, including Ireland.

The Irish Meteorological Service issued an advisory warning that high seas, severe winds and heavy rain may hit on Thursday and Friday.

Lorenzo is the fifth Atlantic storm to reach hurricane status in 2019, following Jerry, Humberto, Dorian and Barry.

Paolo Zialcita is an intern on NPR's News Desk.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.