MIAMI – A weakened Hurricane Epsilon moved northward Friday over the Atlantic Ocean, a day after after skirting well east of Bermuda.
Epsilon's top sustained winds fell Thursday to 85 mph (140 kph), dropping it from a Category 2 to a Category 1 storm, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. The Miami-based center said Epsilon was about 195 miles (314 kilometers) east-northeast of Bermuda at 5 a.m. Friday as it moved north at 7 mph (11 kph).
Bermuda weather officials on Thursday evening had discontinued a tropical storm warning for the Atlantic island.
Gradual weakening of the hurricane was expected into the weekend. But large ocean swells could cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions along the coast of New England and Atlantic Canada during the next couple of days, the hurricane center warned.
Earlier in the week, Epsilon had gained 50 mph (80 kph) in wind speed in just 24 hours to become a major hurricane on Wednesday. That officially qualified it as a rapidly intensifying storm. It was the seventh storm this season to power up so quickly, reaching Category 3 status at one point.
Over the past couple decades, meteorologists have been increasingly worried about storms that blow up from nothing to a whopper, just like Epsilon. Forecasters created an official threshold for this dangerous rapid intensification — a storm gaining 35 mph (56 kph) in wind speed in just 24 hours.
This year's season has had so many storms that the hurricane center has turned to the Greek alphabet after running out of official names.