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 US National Hurricane Center said that the storm has maximum sustained winds of 257 kph.
Lorenzo is moving north at 16 kph and is centered about 2,269 km 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.
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Officials say swells produced by the storm are currently affecting parts of the northeastern coast of South America and the Lesser Antilles.