Hurricane Gordon heads toward eastern Azores

August 19, 2012 5:58:22 PM PDT
Hurricane Gordon sped across the Atlantic on Sunday toward the eastern Azores islands, where a hurricane warning is in effect, U.S. forecasters in Miami said.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami said Gordon was centered about 110 miles (175 kilometers) south-southwest of Sao Miguel Island in the Azores as of 8 p.m. EDT. Gordon had weakened to a Category 1 hurricane with top sustained winds of 85 mph (140 kph) and higher gusts.

The hurricane, which formed on Saturday, was moving toward the east-northeast at 21 mph (34 kph).

The hurricane was on a forecast track expected to take it near or over the islands of the eastern Azores early Monday. Forecasters said that while the Gordon was expected to weaken somewhat Sunday, it still was expected to be a hurricane when it passes over the eastern Azores.

Gordon's dangerous surf and ocean swells could reach the central and eastern Azores on Sunday afternoon and heavy rains were expected, forecasters said.

State news agency Lusa said residents in the archipelago were calm, enjoying sitting on restaurant terraces and reading Sunday newspapers in the countdown to Gordon's arrival.

Lusa said residents had taken the recommended precautions and were prepared for the arrival of high winds and a heavy sea.

Gordon was due to reach the islands of Sao Miguel and Santa Maria early Monday, according to Portugal's Meteorological Institute. Skies were gray and overcast late Sunday, Lusa said.

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