By Salvador Rodriguez, CNN
A new hurricane has formed over the Atlantic and is bearing down on the Carolinas.
Category 3 Hurricane Sam is carrying winds of 95 mph and could reach the US East Coast sometime this weekend. The storm will keep strengthening as it passes over open water.
“It’s going to be a life-threatening situation at the coast at this point, along with a lot of waves and rip currents,” CNN meteorologist Sarah Dallof said.
Sam could produce 3 to 5 inches of rain in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. The National Hurricane Center said areas between Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, and Charleston, South Carolina, could see as much as 8 inches.
But Sam is most likely to stay offshore, and Dallof said the storm is expected to diminish in strength as it crosses the northeast Atlantic.
“It’s not something that’s going to generate storm surge in that area and the best chance we’ve got for another system to develop is to the west of Sam and just get into New England,” Dallof said.
“We’re still expecting 3 to 5 inches of rain for the Carolinas with isolated areas seeing up to 8 inches.”
And though there’s a chance Sam could hit the coast, Dallof said it’s not expected to make landfall.
“That’s not unprecedented,” she said. “We’ve had category four storms make landfall in the East.”
What comes next for Sam?
Some computer models show a tropical storm could strengthen before making landfall. Dallof said the location is hard to predict with this type of storm.
But some computer models say Sam could stall and move slowly. That would be bad news for Hawaii, Dallof said.
Sam could reach Hawaii next week. Dallof said the storm could cause more rain than expected.