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N.J. weather: Hurricane Fiona to churn rough surf at Jersey Shore. New storms loom in Atlantic.

Red and yellow warning flags will likely be flying along the Jersey Shore on Thursday and Friday, with weather forecasters calling for rough surf and dangerous rip currents generated by Hurricane Fiona.

Fiona strengthened into a powerful Category 4 hurricane early Wednesday when its sustained winds were blowing at 130 mph, and the storm is now taking aim at Bermuda.

Even though Fiona’s center is hundreds of miles away from the United States, the massive hurricane is creating big ocean swells that are expected to result in rough surf and strong rip currents along the eastern seaboard, including the Jersey Shore, forecasters said.

“An offshore wind around 10 to 15 mph will help limit rip current potential somewhat” on Thursday, the National Weather Service said in its public forecast discussion Wednesday. “However, with 3 to 4-foot breaking waves, and a period of around 13 seconds, a moderate risk for rip currents exists along the Jersey Shore and Delaware beaches.”

Hurricane Fiona and other storms looming in Atlantic

This graphic from the National Hurricane Center shows the extent of strong winds expected from Hurricane Fiona.National Hurricane Center

The weather service said the risk for dangerous rip currents will likely be boosted Friday from moderate to high, based on the latest forecast for surf conditions.

The number of swimmers at the Jersey Shore should be limited during the next two days, with mostly cloudy skies and rain showers expected on Thursday and much cooler temperatures — highs in the low 60s — and gusty winds forecast for Friday.

Hurricane Fiona and other storms looming in Atlantic

The Atlantic hurricane basin is bubbling with activity this week, with Hurricane Fiona, Tropical Storm Gaston and three tropical waves that could become tropical depressions or tropical storms in the next several days. The red X shows the storm system that could strengthen and move towards the Gulf of Mexico by next Wednesday.National Hurricane Center

Potential storm looming next week

After an unusually quiet summer that defied most predictions, the Atlantic hurricane season has exploded with activity during the past few weeks and currently has two active cyclones — Hurricane Fiona and Tropical Storm Gaston — spinning along with three tropical waves that could strengthen into organized tropical depressions or tropical storms during the next five days.

One of those tropical waves is generating a lot of attention among forecasters, because some long-range computer models are projecting it may move into the Gulf of Mexico as a tropical storm or a hurricane by next Wednesday.

Hurricane Fiona and other storms looming in Atlantic

Long-range forecasters from AccuWeather say there’s a possibility that a tropical storm or hurricane could move into the Gulf of Mexico next week.AccuWeather

As of now, forecasters from the National Hurricane Center say there’s a 70% chance that tropical wave — currently located a couple of hundred miles east of the southern Windward Islands — will become a tropical depression or tropical storm in the next two days and a 90% chance of that happening in the next five days.

“This is the most significant threat for the U.S. mainland we’ve had this hurricane season,” AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Jonathan Porter said.

“If the main brunt of the tropical rainstorm is able to avoid drifting over South America, it can evolve into a full-fledged tropical storm anytime through Friday while over the eastern Caribbean,” said Paul Pastelok, lead long-range forecaster for AccuWeather.

Current weather radar

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Len Melisurgo may be reached at LMelisurgo@njadvancemedia.com.


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