Hurricane Danny Becomes First of 2015 Atlantic Season

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IN SPACE - AUGUST 20: In this handout from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Hurricane Danny is seen August 20. 2015 north of the coast of Venezuela. Danny is the first hurricane of the 2015 Atlantic season and is forecast to make landfall at the Lesser Antilles early next week. (Photo by NOAA via Getty Images)

Hurricane Danny is seen August 20. 2015 north of the coast of Venezuela. Danny is the first hurricane of the 2015 Atlantic season (NOAA)

It took a while, but the first Atlantic hurricane of the year has arrived. A relatively compact Danny strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane on Thursday morning, still more than 1,000 miles east of the eastern Caribbean islands.

Plenty could change in the next few days, but it looked Thursday as if the storm could reach the Leeward Islands such as Guadeloupe and St. Kitts and Nevis as a Category 1 hurricane by Monday.

Danny was small for a hurricane, the National Hurricane Center said, with hurricane-force winds extending only 10 miles from center. Its maximum sustained winds were 75 mph, just above the hurricane threshold.

The hurricane center cautioned that Danny’s small size make forecasting its strength especially difficult.

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“Danny’s compact size makes it subject to significant fluctuations in strength, both up and down, and such fluctuations are notoriously difficult to forecast,” the center said in a forecast discussion posted online.