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Hurricane Lorenzo: Storm 'possibly strongest in 20 years' rips through Azores

Hurricane Lorenzo: Storm 'possibly strongest in 20 years' rips through Azores
By Rachael Kennedy
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A hurricane with winds of up to 100 mph has reached the Azores and is expected to cause life-threatening surf and rip-current conditions.


Residents on Portugal's Azores islands were hunkered down on Wednesday amid a deadly hurricane that has been described by local authorities as possibly the"strongest" in the last two decades.

Hurricane Lorenzo is sweeping along the western edge of the Azores, having knocked down trees and brought possibly life-threatening water currents with winds of up to 90mph.

Local authorities closed roads, schools and non-emergency public services on Wednesday as the Category 1 hurricane reached the archipelago.

Mar tempestuoso a chegar às muralhas do Castelo:

Publiée par Álamo Meneses sur Mercredi 2 octobre 2019

It also knocked out power for those on the worst-affected island of Flores, where Portugal's metereological service predicted waves could reach up to 25 metres.

"This might be the strongest [hurricane] in the last 20 years," Carlos Neves, head of the Azores' civil protection, said.

"Although it shifted slightly in recent days to the west, it has affected us in a very aggressive way."

Meanwhile, the National Hurricane Centre in the US said "dangerous conditions" would continue into Wednesday afternoon, adding that hurricane and tropical storm warnings were in place across the region.

Hurricane Lorenzo is set to weaken to an extratropical storm after hitting Azores, before it moves north on its trajectory toward Ireland and the UK at the end of the week.

Dan Suri, the chief meteorologist at the UK's Met Office, said "wet and very windy weather" would hit western parts of the UK from Thursday after bringing "the strongest winds" to western Ireland.

It comes "with a risk of coastal gales developing in Northern Ireland and western Scotland on Thursday and Wales and south-west England on Friday," he added.

The hurricane broke records over the weekend after being elevated to a Category 5 storm, which the National Hurricane Center in the US says is the strongest for that far north and east in the Atlantic Ocean.

Despite being downgraded to a Category 2, it has still made deadly impact.

A search and rescue operation has been underway since the end of last week for the missing crew of a Luxembourg-flagged tugboat that overturned in the Atlantic after it ran into difficulties in the eye of the storm.

One crew member has been confirmed dead after their body was recovered from the ocean, the owners of the boat said in a statement on Monday.

Three are reported to have been rescued safely from a life raft, while ten are still missing.

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