Storm Delta nears hurricane status

The record-breaking hurricane season continued as Tropical Storm Delta neared hurricane strength Thursday in the central Atlantic, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

The 25th named storm of the season formed Wednesday and poses a threat only to shipping.

“It’s way out there in the middle of nowhere,” hurricane specialist Stacy Stewart said. “It shouldn’t threaten the United States or probably any other land area, for that matter.”

At 10 a.m. ET, Delta’s top sustained winds had strengthened to 70 mph. It would become the 14th hurricane of the season if those winds reach 74 mph.

Delta was centered about 1,145 miles southwest of the Azores Islands. It was drifting east near 2 mph, and forecasters said the storm could stall over the open water before turning north.

Delta was a large storm: Tropical storm-force winds stretched out up to 260 miles from its center.

The Atlantic hurricane season officially ends next Thursday, though it’s not unheard-of for storms to develop after Dec. 1. In 2003, two storms, Odette and Peter, formed in December.

The record of 21 tropical storms and hurricanes in a season had stood since 1933, but it was broken this year. The 13 hurricanes so far this year also broke the record of 12 set in 1969. Hurricane Katrina became the most expensive U.S. hurricane ever and the deadliest one to hit America since 1928, the AP reports.


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