Ike Strengthens to Hurricane Status

As hurricane season reaches its annual peak, the latest tropical storm in the alphabetic mix, Ike, has strengthened to full-fledged hurricane status.

It is not yet known whether or not Hurricane Ike will affect any land areas, however, it is being closely monitored by the Miami-based Hurricane Center.

Tropical Storm Ike strengthened to a Category One hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean on Wednesday, the US National Hurricane Center said.

Ike, the fifth hurricane of the 2008 Atlantic season, is still far from any of the islands east of the Caribbean like the Bahamas, according to information released by the Miami-based Hurricane Center.

“It is too early to determine what if any land areas might eventually be affected by Ike,” the Hurricane Center said.

At 5 pm (2100 GMT) the center of Ike was about 1,080 kilometers (670 miles) northeast of the Leeward Islands and was moving in a west-northwest direction near 30 kilometers (18 miles) an hour.

The movement will be “taking Ike over the open waters of the west-central Atlantic during the next couple of days,” the Hurricane Center said.

The storm has maximum sustained winds of 130 kilometers (80 miles) per hour, “with higher gusts,” making it a Category One hurricane, the weakest on the five-level Saffir-Simpson scale.

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