Category 4 Hurricane Lorenzo churns through the Atlantic, may hit Azores Tuesday

One of 'the most intense storms in recent years'

By Faith Karimi and Theresa Waldrop, CNN
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(CNN) - Hurricane Lorenzo strengthened into a Category 5 storm overnight before weakening into a still-powerful Category 4 as it churned in the central Atlantic on Sunday.

Lorenzo is the strongest hurricane recorded so far north and east in the Atlantic basin, the National Hurricane Center said Saturday night when the storm reached Category 5.

he hurricane's thick core surrounded a big, clear eye as it joined the rare club of the most intense category of storms.

According to the hurricane center's forecast track, Lorenzo is expected to pass over or near the Azores in a few days. Storm watches for the Azores could be issued later Sunday, the NHC said in its latest update.

"Steady weakening is expected over the next few days, but Lorenzo is still expected to be a potent hurricane in a couple of days," the center said.

Lorenzo was about 1,315 miles southwest of the Azores and was packing maximum sustained winds of 145 mph late Sunday morning, according to the NHC update.

"Lorenzo is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 3 to 6 inches over much of the western Azores and 1 to 2 inches over the central Azores on Tuesday and Wednesday. This rainfall could cause life-threatening flash flooding in the western Azores," the center said.

Although some models show the storm veering off to the northwest later in the week, it's possible Ireland cold see some strong winds from the storm, which will have weakened considerably by then, CNN meteorologist Haley Brink said.

"Ophelia did the same thing and impacted the region in 2017, bringing with it very strong winds," Brink said.

It would be a rare event for the UK to have a wind storm from a system that had been a hurricane, Brink said.

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