Forecasters say Tropical Storm will become a hurricane within the next few days, maintaining its slow northerly course up the Atlantic Ocean.
According to the National Hurricane Center’s 11 am update, Leslie was about 470 miles south-southeast of Bermuda, moving north-northwest at 2 mph.
It had maximum sustained winds of 70 mph extending 230 miles outward from the storm’s center. Additional strengthening is forecast and Leslie is expected to become a hurricane later today, the NHC noted.
Provided it stays on its projected path, Leslie is expected to reach Bermuda with winds as high as 110 mph, which would make the storm a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale.
The system is already stirring high surf from Bermuda to U.S. East Coast beaches.
“Leslie is very near hurricane strength and conditions are expected to become quite favorable for additional intensification to occur through at least 96 hours,” expert senior meteorologist Dan Kottlowski, head of the AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center, said.
“People on the islands should be preparing for a Category 1 or 2 hurricane to hit this weekend and not be deceived by the current slow movement and strength of the system.”
Joining Leslie early Wednesday was Tropical Storm Michael.
Michael, with highest winds of 50 mph, was far out in the Atlantic, about 1,155 miles west southwest of the Azores. It was moving north at 5 mph.
The NHC said that while the storm is becoming a little better organized, it still poses no threat to land.
The Weather Channel has more on the projected paths of Tropical Storms Leslie and Michael in the video below: