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Larry forecast to strengthen to major hurricane

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Hurricane Larry swirled across the eastern Tropical Atlantic on Friday, around 1,000 miles west of the southernmost Cabo Verde Islands. 

The National Hurricane Center said that the storm was slowly strengthening, while there were no coastal watches or warnings in effect. 

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The agency said that Larry was moving toward the west-northwest near 20 mph and the same motion was expected to continue over the next few days. 

By early next week, the hurricane is expected to turn to the northwest. 

Larry’s maximum sustained winds have increased to near 90 mph with higher gusts and hurricane-force winds extending outward up to 25 miles from the center. 

Tropical-storm-force winds reach outward up to 150 miles.

The hurricane center said that Larry could become a major hurricane by Friday night. 

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The agency warned of swells generated by Larry that are expected to reach the Lesser Antilles on Sunday and cause “life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.”

According to AccuWeather meteorologists, the hurricane “could eventually approach Bermuda and make a close pass to North America.”

“Further strengthening, into major hurricane strength (Category 3 or stronger with sustained winds of 111 mph or greater), is predicted to occur this weekend,” AccuWeather Meteorologist Ryan Adamson said in an AccuWeather post. The weather forecaster said Larry is forecast to reach Category 4 strength.

Should it continue to strengthen, it would be the Atlantic hurricane season’s third major hurricane, following Hurricane Grace and Hurricane Ida.

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“There is certainly a chance that Larry tracks far enough to the west to pass close to or even over Bermuda, likely as a major hurricane,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Randy Adkins said in an accompanying statement. “However, as it currently stands, it appears more likely than not that Larry will still end up far enough to the east to spare Bermuda the brunt of the storm.”

AccuWeather said that while it is most likely that Larry will stay a few hundred miles away from the Northeast coast, large swells and winds can impact much of the U.S. East Coast next week.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), there is a likelihood of 15 to 21 total named storms, with seven to 10 of those storms expected to become hurricanes and three to five likely to become major hurricanes.

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