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Forecasters: Sam a major hurricane, but intensity to vary

The U.S. National Hurricane Center says Sam is centered early Sunday about 940 miles east-southeast of the northern Leeward Islands.

Hurricane Sam was a Category 4 storm early Sunday, but forecasters said the system could fluctuate in strength over the next day or so as it churns far from land over the Atlantic Ocean.

Sam was centered about 940 miles (1,510 kilometers) east-southeast of the northern Leeward Islands on Sunday morning, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. It was moving west-northwest at 8 mph (13 kph).

Forecasters said Sam had maximum sustained winds around 145 mph (230 kph). Wind speeds were expected to vary in intensity over the next day or so, followed by some slow weakening.

No coastal watches or warnings were in effect, however swells from Hurricane Sam could cause dangerous rip current conditions off the coast of the Lesser Antilles early this week, officials said.