(CNN)Hurricane Lorenzo strengthened into a Category 5 storm as it churned in the Atlantic on Saturday night.

Lorenzo’s thick core surrounded a big, clear eye as it joined the rare club of the most intense storms in recent years. “Large and powerful Category 5 Lorenzo becomes the strongest hurricane this far north and east in the Atlantic basin,” the National Hurricane Center said. It said fluctuations in intensity are possible with a weakening forecast set to begin Sunday night. But Lorenzo is still expected to be a large and potent hurricane as is approaches the Azores in a few days. By late Saturday night, Lorenzo was about 1,420 miles southwest of the Azores packing maximum sustained winds of 160 mph. Lorenzo’s large surf will affect parts of the northeastern coast of South America and the Lesser Antilles, and is expected to spread westward to portions of the Greater Antilles, the Bahamas, Bermuda and the east coast of the United States.

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