Hurricane Lee is a monster hurricane as AccuWeather forecasters increase the risk of US impacts –

Hurricane Lee quickly grew into a monster Category 5 hurricane hitting the Atlantic Ocean by Friday morning. It will remain a powerful and dangerous hurricane as it swirls north of the Caribbean Sea this weekend, before heading north along the East Coast of the United States next week. AccuWeather meteorologists warn that the threat of direct impacts in New England is increasing, and that much of the East Coast will experience heavy surf and dangerous surf.

Lee, which was named in the mid-Atlantic on Tuesday, was located about 565 miles east of the Leeward Islands in the eastern Caribbean Sea at midday Friday. At 11 a.m. EDT, it was a Category 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 155 mph.

Due to its massive strength from Thursday into Friday morning, Lee holds the title of the strongest hurricane to hit the Atlantic Ocean during the 2023 season.

Lee becomes a brutal tornado

Hurricane Lee experienced rapid intensification, reaching maximum Category 5 strength on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale and packing winds of 165 mph as of Friday morning. Just 24 hours ago, it was a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 80 mph. Rapid intensification occurs when a tropical system’s sustained wind speed increases by 35 mph or more in 24 hours. Lee has doubled the criteria for rapid condensation, which is extremely rare.

Get the free ACCUWEATHER app

In fact, only six other Atlantic hurricanes strengthened by 80 mph or more in a 24-hour period. According to Philip Klotzbach, a meteorologist at Colorado State University, Other hurricanes that intensified at a similarly staggering pace They include Etta in 2020, Maria in 2017, Matthew in 2016, Ike in 2008, Felix in 2007, and Wilma in 2005.

Category 5 Hurricane Lee late on September 7, 2023.

“Wilma, from the 2005 mega-hurricane season, holds the record for rapid 24-hour intensification in the Atlantic Basin,” said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Bill Digger. “The system’s sustained winds of 105 mph rose from a 70 mph tropical storm to a Category 5 hurricane of 175 mph in 24 hours.”

Lee will live for a long time with slight fluctuations in strength

Lee has already traveled more than 1,000 miles since his birth over the western mid-Atlantic early this week and will likely double that distance by early next week.

The major hurricane will take a curving path around a large area of ​​high pressure over the central Atlantic, directing the powerful storm north of the northern islands of the Caribbean this weekend, then northeast of the Bahamas, west of Bermuda and east of the southeastern United States in the first half of next week. .

“Changes in the structure of Eye Li will lead to some fluctuations in hurricane strength through this weekend,” AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Bernie Rayno said. “However, the hurricane’s intensity is not likely to drop below major hurricane intensity (Category 3 or greater) and could spend the entire weekend at Category 4 or greater intensity.”

Lee has been so intense that it has created its own wet environment since Thursday — a factor that can help powerful hurricanes maintain their strength, Rhino noted.

Hurricane Lee forecast affecting the United States

From mid-week onward, Hurricane Lee’s exact track will determine the extent of direct and indirect impacts across the eastern United States and Atlantic Canada.

“Beginning Sunday, sea and surf levels will rise to dangerous levels along the central and northern Florida coast and expand northward across the mid-Atlantic and New England coasts next week,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Joe Lundberg said.

The building waves will cause frequent and strong currents, crashing waves, beach erosion and even coastal flooding at times of high tide.

Get your AccuWeather forecast

AccuWeather meteorologists gave a pretty clear signal from a direct hit standpoint, which would prevent the high winds and heavy rain hit by Lee from reaching recently hard-hit areas from Idalia, including Florida to North Carolina.

However, as of Friday, the risk of direct impacts was increasing northward along the North American coast from New England to the Canadian Maritime Provinces and the large Canadian island of Newfoundland.

AccuWeather meteorologists are closely monitoring the future track of Hurricane Lee as the storm approaches North America late next week and into next weekend. At this point, forecasters believe Lee will either make landfall somewhere from New England to Atlantic Canada or perhaps instead remain at sea as it sweeps across eastern Newfoundland.

As Lee approaches, the behavior of the jet stream will determine the extent of direct impacts in the northeastern United States.

If the jet stream swings eastward along the Atlantic coast at a rapid pace, that should help protect the mid-Atlantic from feeling the direct rain and strong winds from Lee. In this scenario, Bermuda might suffer more direct impacts instead.

Two long-range motion scenarios for Hurricane Lee.

However, if the jet stream is stronger, dips south and stalls as Lee approaches, it is possible that the powerful storm will be pulled closer to the United States by channeling winds during the middle and latter part of next week.

In the latter scenario, there is a risk of landing in New England with widespread risks to life and property.

“The area in the United States that really needs attention includes locations from the upper mid-Atlantic coast to New England,” Rhino said, adding that parts of Atlantic Canada are also likely to experience direct impacts from Lee late next year. week.

Even a track where Lee’s center stays offshore could bring heavy rain and strong winds to part of New England next weekend. Lee’s proximity to the coast will determine how severe the conditions will be in terms of storm damage, high winds and heavy rain.

“What tends to happen as hurricanes move into northern latitudes during September and October is that rain and wind fields tend to expand as the storm’s high winds decrease,” said Dan DeBaudouin, director of forecast operations at AccuWeather. This is how a storm center passing a few hundred miles to the east could bring heavy rain and/or strong winds to parts of the Northeast, depending on the weather pattern.

Forecasters are urging shipping, fishing and cruise interests to closely monitor the path of Hurricane Lee, which will generate huge waves. Deep sea wave heights could range from 20 to 40 feet near the powerful storm, which is likely to remain a hurricane for an extended period in North Atlantic waters.

AccuWeather was the first to create tracking maps for Lee before it became a designated tropical system and the first to forecast it would become a Category 5 hurricane, about 24 hours ahead of the National Hurricane Center.

Margot will become the fifth hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean

Elsewhere in the Atlantic, Tropical Depression Fourteen formed near a group of islands off the west coast of Africa called the Cabo Verde Islands on Thursday afternoon, and hours later was upgraded to Tropical Storm Margot.

Margot will likely intensify into a hurricane before the beginning of next week. Once this system moves away from the Cabo Verde Islands, it is unlikely to pose a threat to the territories in the near future.

Want the next level of security, without ads? Get advanced, hyper-local severe weather alerts when you subscribe to Premium+ on the AccuWeather app. AccuWeather™ Alerts are requested by our meteorologists who monitor and analyze dangerous weather risks 24/7 to keep you and your family safe.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *