Michael now a Category 3 hurricane, Leslie moves slowly northward

Posted at 5:03 PM, Sep 05, 2012
and last updated 2012-09-06 10:11:28-04

Leslie continues to move slowly northward in the open Atlantic. Leslie is centered about 440 miles South-Southeast of Bermuda. A very slow northward motion is expected through Friday with an impact to Bermuda this weekend. Some additional strengthening is expected.

Michael has rapidly intensified into a category 3 hurricane about 1000 miles east of Leslie. A slow north to northeast motion is expected over the next few days with additional strengthening possible.

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The Coast Guard and the National Weather Service are advising boaters and swimmers to use extreme caution this week and through the weekend, and the National Weather Service has issued a beach hazards statement for dangerous shore break and a high threat of rip currents.

“Often times the biggest rip current outbreaks occur from swells from a distant storm,” said Steven Pfaff from the National Weather Service Office in Wilmington. “The swells affect large areas of coastline, putting a higher number of people at risk. Always pay attention to lifeguards and adhere to instructions from the local beach communities, never swim alone and check the rip current forecast for your location before heading to the beach.”

In addition to rip currents, the high surf associated with Leslie creates elevated risk in the numerous shallow draft inlets along the coast.

Mariners are urged to always wear a life jacket, check weather forecasts prior to going offshore and never enter an inlet with breaking surf. Surf conditions are dangerous not only to the mariner, but also to the rescuers. The Coast Guard recommends taking the time to transit to a safer inlet.

“The ocean is unforgiving,” said Capt. Anthony Popiel, the Coast Guard Sector North Carolina commander. “It is extremely important for people to carefully watch weather conditions and know their capabilities prior to getting underway or going in the water. Good judgment, careful planning and proper safety gear can prevent a fun day from turning into tragedy.”