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Hurricane Igor nears Category 5 in Atlantic

Igor, now capable of causing catastrophic damage, poses no immediate threat to land or energy interests.
This satellite-based image taken Monday shows Hurricane Igor, left, and Tropical Storm Julia, right.
This satellite-based image taken Monday shows Hurricane Igor, left, and Tropical Storm Julia, right.NOAA via AP
/ Source: news services

Powerful Hurricane Igor roared far out in the Atlantic Monday, with forecasters expecting it to remain over open water through at least the end of the week.

Igor was a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds near 150 mph. The forecast track shows it staying well south of Bermuda for the next five days. It's too early to tell if it might threaten land beyond that.

Igor was about 880 miles east of the Northern Leeward Islands and moving west near 10 mph. A turn toward the west-northwest was expected Monday night or Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center said.

Igor seemed to be nearing its peak intensity but it wouldn't take much to boost it into the highest level of a Category 5 storm, with winds topping 155 mph, the forecasters said.

Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Julia developed over the far eastern Atlantic, becoming the 10th named storm of the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season.

Julia had 40 mph winds and could become a hurricane in a few days.

Veteran forecaster Jeff Masters said on Sunday on his Weather Underground blog that Igor may threaten Bermuda but had only a small chance of making landfall on the U.S. East Coast or in Canada.

Masters and other forecasters said it was still too early to make any definitive predictions about Igor's long-term fate, however.

The 2010 Atlantic hurricane season was predicted to be extremely active by most forecasters. Besides Igor, three hurricanes — Alex, Danielle and Earl — formed earlier in the season, the last two reaching Category 4 strength.

Several forecasters have said they expect the season to produce in all some five major hurricanes of Category 3 strength or stronger.