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Epsilon strengthens to a hurricane, charges toward Bermuda

The hurricane is the 26th named storm in a busy hurricane season, which is not officially over until Nov. 30.
Image: Tropical storm Epsilon strengthens to a hurricane in Atlantic
Tropical storm Epsilon strengthens to a hurricane in Atlantic.NOAA

Tropical storm Epsilon strengthened to a hurricane Tuesday night as it moved on a projected path that could take it close to Bermuda, forecasters said.

Hurricane Epsilon, named from the Greek alphabet because there have been so many storms that the traditional names ran out, became the earliest 26th named storm on record Monday morning.

Tuesday night, the stom had maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, making it a Category 1 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, the hurricane center said in an advisory at 11 p.m.

Epsilon, which could strengthen over the next two days, is forecast to be a hurricane when it makes its closest approach to Bermuda late Thursday, the hurricane center said.

Exact details of the track and its intensity near the island were not yet known.

A tropical storm watch was in effect for Bermuda, and tropical storm conditions could be seen on the island by Thursday, the hurricane center said.

Large swells generated by the storm could affect Bermuda for several days, the hurricane center said in Tuesday night's advisory, which are expected to generate potentially life-threatening surf and rip currents.

In September, the list of traditional names for hurricanes — which come from an international committee of the World Meteorological Organization, a United Nations agency — ran out when Tropical Storm Wilfred formed in the Atlantic.

That meant that the names then went to the Greek alphabet.

The official Atlantic hurricane season doesn't end until Nov. 30, but tropical cyclones can form even later than that. Tropical storm Zeta in 2005 formed in late December.