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Cat 5 hurricane unprecedented for being so far north, east

MIAMI — Hurricane Lorenzo has strengthened into a Category 5 storm in the central Atlantic Ocean, making it the strongest storm ever observed so far north and east in the Atlantic basin.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said late Saturday night that the storm has maximum sustained winds of 160 mph (257 kph).

Lorenzo is moving north at 10 mph (16 kph) and is centered about 1,410 miles (2,269 kilometers) southwest of the Azores, a Portuguese island chain.

There are no coastal watches or warnings currently in effect, although forecasters expect the storm to remain strong as it approaches the Azores over the next few days.

Officials say swells produced by the storm are currently affecting parts of the northeastern coast of South America and the Lesser Antilles.

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