Hurricane Larry close to strengthening into monster Category 4 storm

Hurricane Larry is nearing Category 4 storm strength as the busy 2021 Atlantic hurricane season continues. 

In an update from the National Hurricane Center on Saturday, forecasters said Larry "is a large and powerful hurricane" with maximum sustained winds at 120 mph.

"Larry is a Category 3 hurricane," the National Hurricane Center said Saturday. "Strengthening is forecast over the next day or two, and Larry is expected to remain at major hurricane strength through the early part of next week."

FOX 35 Storm Team Meteorologist Allison Gargaro says Larry is forecast to become a powerful Category 4 hurricane late this weekend or early next week.

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The storm is not expected to pose a threat to the U.S. in the days ahead, except for the possibility of causing potentially dangerous surf and rip currents along the east coast next week. 

Meanwhile, the FOX 35 Storm Team is tracking an area that could develop in the Western Gulf of Mexico next week.

A surface trough over Central America is producing disorganized shower and thunderstorm activity. 

"The disturbance is expected to move over the southwestern or south-central Gulf of Mexico late this weekend, and then move generally northward over the western or central Gulf of Mexico early next week.," the NHC said.

RELATED: Labor Day weekend brings rip current risk to Central Florida beaches

The system has a low chance of development at 30% over the next five days, "but environmental conditions could become marginally favorable for some gradual development by Tuesday or Wednesday."

RELATED: Buckle up, Florida: NOAA says September is the most hurricane-prone month

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says that September is the most hurricane-prone month, with as many major hurricane landfalls as August and October combined. Texas and Louisiana are "prime targets" for pre-August major hurricanes, the agency said.

Comparatively, most major October hurricanes occur in southern Florida. To date, Florida has been hit by about 120 recorded hurricanes but has been spared so far in 2021. 

Hurricane season runs through November 30.

Watch FOX 35 News for the latest updates throughout hurricane season.