Hurricane Gert has reached Category 2 strength and will create dangerous seas and surf along the East Coast of the United States into Thursday.

Tropical Depression 8 strengthened into Tropical Storm Gert on Sunday afternoon northeast of the Bahamas, before developing into a hurricane late on Monday.

Gert became a Category 2 hurricane on Wednesday with sustained winds of 100 mph (161 km/h). The storm has become the strongest hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic season.

Gert will not make landfall in the United states or Canada.

"Gert's closest approach to the U.S. was near Cape Hatteras, North Carolina," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.

"[The system] was roughly the same distance between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, or between 250 and 260 miles for a time on Tuesday."

The swells generated from Gert caused heavy wave action and stong rip currents along much of the east coast of the U.S. from Monday through Wednesday.

On Thursday the roughest seas and surf conditions will extend from Massachusetts to Newfoundland. Seas and surf will begin to subside farther south.

Bathers will want to use caution and only swim when and where a lifeguard is present.

The storm will accelerate to the northeast and eventually be absorbed by a non-tropical system over the open waters of the northern Atlantic.

Gert is forecast to stay well southeast of Nova Scotia but could pass within a couple of hundred miles (320 km) southeast of the Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland on Thursday.

"The system is likely to affect Ireland and the northern part of the United Kingdom as a tropical rainstorm with a period of gusty winds and rough seas this weekend," according to AccuWeather International Meteorologist Eric Leister.

Gradual development may occur as multiple systems cross the open waters of the south-central Atlantic over the next week.

The lead system in the bunch may reach the Leeward or Windward Islands at the end of the week.