Could it affect the east coast of the United States?

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Tropical Storm Lee formed in the far eastern Atlantic Ocean on Tuesday afternoon and is expected to become a major hurricane, with winds of over 140 mph by the end of the week.

The question is where is he heading? Could this affect the United States?

“Interests across the Caribbean and along the East Coast from Florida to Maine will need to pay close attention to this feature,” said Brandon Buckingham, AccuWeather meteorologist. “Depending on the path this system takes, the expected time frame for potential impacts to the US and Atlantic Canada could be September 13-16.”

The National Hurricane Center said Lee is more than 1,300 miles east of the Caribbean islands.

Rapid condensation is possible

Forecasters from the Hurricane Center expect Lee to become a Category 4 hurricane of 130 mph by Saturday morning east of Puerto Rico and continue to strengthen into a 140 mph storm by Sunday.

The hurricane center said “rapid intensification is possible” due to low wind shear in its path along with warm ocean waters of about 86 degrees. Winds tear apart developing storms, while warm waters serve as fuel to strengthen storms.

Wind forecast and timing as of midday Tuesday:

  • 12 hours: 45 mph (tropical storm)
  • 24 hours: 60 mph
  • 48 hours: 80 mph (Class 1)
  • 60 hours: 90 mph
  • 72 hours: 110 mph (Class 2)
  • 96 hours: 130 mph (Class 4)
  • 120 hours: 140 miles per hour

The track forecast is uncertain

AccuWeather said the latest evidence indicates that the storm’s track could vary across a wide area stretching from the east coast of the United States north to eastern Canada, or even move away from the coast altogether.

According to meteorologist Jonathan Erdmann, “a combination of factors will determine where the hurricane will eventually go” as it makes its way across the Atlantic.

This includes how strong and wide the high pressure area was in Bermuda and the Azores at that time. “This is like a driving wheel for tropical waves, storms and hurricanes in the tropics,” Erdmann said. If the height was weaker, it might return me to the sea. He added that if it was stronger, the storm could affect the east coast of the United States.

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Take a look at spaghetti models

A special note about spaghetti models: Figures includes a range of forecasting tools and models, and not all are created equal. The hurricane center only uses the four or five highest-performing models to help make its forecasts.

Most spaghetti models keep storming north of the Caribbean. However, Bermuda may experience a major hurricane next week.

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Dangerous effects can occur even if you stay offshore

The National Weather Service forecast office in eastern North Carolina reminded residents Tuesday that “even when tropical systems remain out at sea, there are still locally remote effects (dangerous rip currents, large break waves, etc.).”

In addition, the weather service said that “every system that is developed is always a reminder to finish public preparations for hurricane season if you haven’t already.”

Contributing: Cheryl McCloud, USA TODAY Network

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