Hurricane Lee impacts New England, Canada, Bermuda

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  • Lee is a major hurricane and is moving north.
  • Bermuda will see rain, strong winds and high waves on Thursday.
  • Wind, rain and coastal flooding will impact New England and Atlantic Canada by Friday night or Saturday.
  • Much of the East Coast experiences high surf and rip currents from lee waves.

Hurricane Lee is moving north across the western Atlantic and its large size means it will spread strong winds, rain and coastal flooding away from its center into eastern New England and Atlantic Canada by the end of this week.

Lee also produces rip currents and high waves along the East Coast, providing another example of how hurricanes can pose a danger to beachgoers far from where the storm is tracking.

What’s the latest on me? Lee is a major hurricane centered about 300 miles southwest of Bermuda and moving northward.

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Enhanced satellite

(The highest cloud tops, which correspond to stronger convection, appear in dark red and pink. Deep convection clustered around the center is a sign of a healthy tropical cyclone.)

L​ee is now a Category 2, but that doesn’t draw as much attention as its size.

Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 105 miles from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 290 miles. This is a large hurricane wind field.

(Map tracker: Spaghetti models and more)

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(The orange circle shows the system’s tropical storm force wind range (at least 39 mph). The purple circle shows the system’s hurricane force wind range (at least 74 mph), according to the National Hurricane Center.)

Here are Lee’s latest watches and warnings: A hurricane watch has been issued from Stonington, Maine, to Point Libreau, New Brunswick, and also from Digby to Port Midway, Nova Scotia, including Yarmouth. This means that hurricane conditions are possible in these areas within 48 hours.

A tropical storm watch extends from Watch Hill, Rhode Island, to Stonington, Maine, including Block Island, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket. In Canada, a tropical storm watch is in effect from Point Libero to Fort Lawrence and New Brunswick, as well as over central Nova Scotia, including Halifax. This means that tropical storm conditions are possible in these areas within 48 hours.

A Tropical Storm Warning is also in effect for Bermuda.

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This is where Lee will be going in the next few days: Lee’s projected path is becoming more certain, with the hurricane expected to track west of Bermuda on Thursday and then toward the Gulf of Maine, or the waters near eastern New England and western Atlantic Canada, by Saturday.

Lee’s peak winds are expected to continue to wane. This is because it will encounter colder water, caused in part by upwelling from Hurricane Franklin and the remnants of Hurricane Adalia, drier air, higher wind shear, and eventually it will also pass north of the warm Gulf Stream into cooler water.

Although the hurricane will weaken, its wind field will be very large, meaning the impacts will extend far beyond the expected path shown below.

(more: 12 things you may not know about hurricane forecasts)

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Current situation and outlook

(The red shaded area indicates the likely path of the tropical cyclone’s center. It is important to note that impacts (especially heavy rain, high waves, coastal flooding, and winds) with any tropical cyclone usually spread beyond the expected path.)

Here’s a look at the potential impacts in New England: Rainy winds Coastal flooding impacts will arrive late Friday and especially Saturday, but the extent of those impacts will be determined by Hurricane Lee’s exact path.

Lee’s forecast track has shifted slightly eastward over the past day or so, meaning its strongest winds and heaviest rain could be limited to the immediate coastal areas of Massachusetts and New Hampshire to Maine.

Here’s a look at what we know now.

Wind threat

Tropical storm force wind gusts (39 mph or greater) are possible in far eastern New England.

There is a possibility that Lee’s winds combined with saturated soil could bring down trees and knock out power in some areas, especially in far eastern New England.

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(The lines above show the potential for tropical storm-force winds (at least 39 mph) and when they could first arrive, according to the latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center.)

Thunderstorm threat

Coastal flooding and large surging waves are also likely to have impacts from coastal Massachusetts to Maine.

A storm surge warning has been issued for Cape Cod Bay and Nantucket. A storm surge watch means there is a potential for life-threatening flooding due to rising water moving inland from the coast within 48 hours.

A storm surge of 2 to 4 feet is possible in Cape Cod Bay and Nantucket. Up to 3 feet of storm surge is possible along the rest of the New England coast.

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Possibility of rainfall flooding

It could produce rainfall amounts of 1 to 4 inches in far eastern New England.

The area has been flooded over the past week, so any heavy rainfall could cause localized flooding.

(more: Will Lee add to an already flood-weary New England?)

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Here’s what to expect in Atlantic Canada, Bermuda: Like eastern New England, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick will likely see heavy rain, strong winds, high surf and coastal flooding by Friday or Saturday night and continuing into Saturday night or early Sunday.

Rain, tropical storm force winds and high waves will affect Bermuda on Thursday. Conditions there should improve by Friday afternoon.

Interests in all of the above locations should continue to closely monitor Lee’s forecasts.

High and dangerous rip currents will occur along most of the East Coast: Lee’s resulting swells are already affecting much of the East Coast. This means that high waves, rip currents, coastal flooding, and even beach erosion can occur along parts of the coast.

Keep this in mind if you live near the shores of the Atlantic Ocean or plan to head there this week. Stay out of the water, especially if red flags are flying at the beach.

(More: Lee is an example of how Atlantic hurricanes can produce deadly rip currents)

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Date me so far

Lee became the thirteenth storm of the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season last Tuesday afternoon, and the fourth hurricane of the season last Wednesday afternoon. That was more than a week before the average intensity of the fourth hurricane on September 16, according to data from the National Hurricane Center.

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Lee then underwent rapid, explosive densification, going from Category 1 to Category 5 in just 18 hours last Thursday. Only three other hurricanes have been in the Atlantic since 1982 Its winds have increased by 80 mph in 24 hours or less since 1982, most recently from Matthew in 2016. This was the fastest 24-hour intensification anywhere in the Atlantic Basin outside the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea in 41 years, according to Kieran . Bhatia, a scientist at Princeton University.

The hurricane survey recorded sustained winds of 160 mph last Thursday evening, making it the first Category 5 hurricane since Ian in 2022. Before Hurricane Lee, only 39 other Atlantic hurricanes had reached Category 5 intensity over the past 100 years. .

Lee quickly weakened to Category 2 on Saturday due to increased wind shear. It then gained strength again late Sunday and returned to Category 3 intensity.

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment, and the importance of science in our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

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