Hurricane Igor picks up strength in Atlantic Ocean
Hurricane Igor gathered strength as it churned westward in the Atlantic Ocean on Sunday and appeared poised to gain even more intensity in the coming days but posed no imminent threat to land or energy interests.world Updated: Sep 12, 2010 15:16 IST
Hurricane Igor gathered strength as it churned westward in the Atlantic Ocean on Sunday and appeared poised to gain even more intensity in the coming days but posed no imminent threat to land or energy interests.
The US National Hurricane Center said Igor, the fourth hurricane of the 2010 Atlantic season, had maximum sustained winds of about 80 miles per hour (130 kph), making it a Category 1 hurricane on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale.
Igor reached hurricane status late on Saturday. At 5 am EDT (0900 GMT), the hurricane was located about 1,230 miles
(1,980 km) east of the Leeward Islands, and was moving westward at 18 miles per hour (30 kph), the hurricane center said.
"Additional strengthening is forecast and Igor could reach major hurricane strength by Monday night," the Miami-based center added.
A major hurricane is one with sustained winds between 111 and 130 mph (154-177 kph), reaching a Category 3 rating on the
Saffir-Simpson scale of intensity.
Computer models projected Igor would stay in the Atlantic for the coming days and not enter the Gulf of Mexico, where U.S. oil and gas operations are clustered.
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. The hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov 30 and is currently in its peak period.
The Gulf of Mexico is home to about 30 per cent of US oil production, 11 per cent of natural gas production and more than 43 per cent of US refinery capacity.