Hurricane Danielle Heads to Bahamas
MIAMI (AP) _ A weakened Hurricane Danielle could regain its strength as it quickly moves towards the Bahamas, but will probably wait until Friday before doing so, said forecasters at the National Hurricane Center.
Danielle had steady winds of about 90 mph as it swirled well north of the Leeward Islands Thursday. The storm’s winds were about 15 mph weaker than they were 24 hours earlier.
``Right now it’s being held by an upper low,″ said Daniel Brown, a meteorologist at the hurricane center outside Miami. ``As that moves away, it may have a chance to strengthen further down the road.″
Danielle is a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale of strength. Earlier winds had reached 105 mph, making Danielle a Category 2 storm.
But it could become a Category 3 storm with winds of about 115 mph by Saturday, when Danielle is expected to be east of the central Bahamas, said John Guiney, a hurricane specialist at the center.
For now, no land is threatened, Brown said.
``It will pass north of Leeward Islands and north of Puerto Rico,″ Brown said.
At 11 a.m. EDT Thursday, Danielle was centered near 21.4 north latitude, 59.3 west longitude or about 300 miles northeast of the northern of the northern Leeward Islands. It was moving west-northwest at about 18 mph.
Danielle grew slightly in size, but still remains a compact storm with hurricane strength winds extended about 45 miles from its center. Tropical storm winds of at least 39 mph extended 140 miles from the center.
But size is not an indication of strength, Brown said.
``As it gets stronger it could grow a little bit bigger,″ Brown said. ``The size does not make that much difference in wind. Some small hurricanes can get rather strong.″
The behemoth Hurricane Bonnie, with its vast, 400-mile breadth, had winds of 115 miles per hour when it hit the coast of the Carolinas Wednesday.
Danielle is the fourth tropical storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30.
The Atlantic Basin typically has nine tropical storms each year with six of them becoming hurricanes, two of them intense. In 1997, there were seven named storms, three hurricanes and one intense hurricane.