Epsilon rapidly intensified into a major hurricane, forecasters said Wednesday afternoon. The Category 3 storm is likely to miss Bermuda, yet its effects may still be felt there, so the island is under a tropical storm warning.
With 115 mph winds, Epsilon gained 50 mph in wind speed in just 24 hours, officially qualifying as a rapidly intensifying storm. It is the seventh storm this season to power up this quickly.
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 in wind speed in just 24 hours.
Epsilon is expected to make its closest approach to the island on Thursday afternoon or evening, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. Residents have been urged to closely monitor the storm.
Large swells generated by Epsilon are already affecting Bermuda, the Bahamas, the Greater Antilles, and the Leeward Islands, and are expected to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions along the coast of New England and Atlantic Canada during the next couple of days.
The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season has racked up storms at breakneck speed. This season has had so many storms that the Hurricane Center had to for storm names after running out of official names.
Epsilon also represents a record for the earliest 26th named storm, beating out November 22 in 2005, according to Colorado State University hurricane researcher Phil Klotzbach.
Epsilon became the 10th hurricane of the 2020 Atlantic season to date. Only four years in since 1966 have had at least 10 Atlantic hurricanes by October 21.