Hurricane Lee prepares to hit Atlantic Canada, but New England remains at risk – AccuWeather.com/en/
Hurricane Lee is not a Category 5 hurricane as it once was over the open Atlantic, but AccuWeather meteorologists warn that it will still unleash significant impacts across eastern New England and Atlantic Canada by the end of this week.
Tuesday evening, Lee had major hurricane strength as a Category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale with sustained winds of 115 mph. It was orbiting less than 550 miles south of Bermuda.
He has already made history for me
Lee spent time as a Category 2 hurricane on Sunday after rapidly intensifying to a Category 5 hurricane with sustained winds of 165 mph on Friday while over the western central Atlantic, making it the strongest storm of the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season. Just a Category 1 hurricane with winds of 80 mph on Thursday.
Only six hurricanes have experienced this level of rapid strength, including Hurricane Oima from 2005, Eta from 2020, and Hurricane Maria from 2017. According to Colorado meteorologist Philip Klotzbach.
By the time Lee makes landfall in North America (most likely), he will have traveled nearly 3,000 miles since his birth last week over the mid-Atlantic.
Factors causing force and movement of me
Fluctuations in strength with Lee will occur due to changes in the eye of the hurricane, rising cold water beneath the storm and disturbing breezes known as wind shear, AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Bernie Rayno said.
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Lee was moving around the western edge of high pressure over the central Atlantic and will be affected by strong winds at the level where planes fly, known as the jet stream, later this week.
“It will likely make landfall in Nova Scotia, Canada, this weekend, but any hesitation in the track caused by non-tropical weather systems such as high pressure to the east and an approaching jet stream could pull the hurricane west toward New England or push it,” Reno said. Farther east towards Newfoundland and Labrador.
Lee’s effects will depend on the exact path
Near and east of where Lee heads ashore, a large storm surge will occur with the strongest winds and the risk of property damage.
The rocky coastline and routine extreme tides in Maine and Canada may reduce storm flooding. However, if the lee’s path is farther to the west, where the shoreline gradient is more gradual, it could result in significant storm surge flooding.
Near the north and west of the area where Lee moves inland, heavy rain will fall, causing a high risk of stream and river flooding with several inches or more falling.
AccuWeather is completely clear for part of the US East Coast with a warning
AccuWeather meteorologists seemed pretty clear that Lee from Florida to North Carolina would make landfall late last week. On Tuesday, the forecast expanded to include areas as far north as the Delaware Bay area.
However, these same areas will experience frequent and strong rip currents that could be life-threatening. Rough waves will erode the beach in the area. High tide coastal flooding is possible along portions of North Carolina’s Outer Banks and southeastern Virginia this week, with the potential to peak on Friday.
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Farther north, along the region from New Jersey to Long Island, New York, there is a non-zero chance of a lee wandering, but the chances will increase dramatically northward in New England and peak in Nova Scotia.
These same areas will see offshore swell, coastal wave action, beach erosion and rip currents from midweek through this weekend.
Eastern New England to Newfoundland and Labrador Lee is watching closely
The severity of conditions from eastern New England to Nova Scotia and the island of Newfoundland in terms of wind, rain and coastal problems will depend on the exact track and strength of the lee late this week and into this weekend.
As Lee moves over the cold waters of the North Atlantic late this week and this weekend, before making landfall, it will lose some of its wind intensity, Rhino said. However, when this happens, the storm’s rain and winds will tend to spread out and can expand further and perhaps be enhanced by the jet stream.
At this time, AccuWeather meteorologists expect a high risk to life and property from damaging winds and flooding across much of Nova Scotia Saturday through Sunday.
However, some risks from the direct impacts of Hurricane Lee extend as far west as Rhode Island and include all of eastern Massachusetts, southeastern New Hampshire, and central and coastal Maine.
The coastline along Cape Cod Bay, Massachusetts, is likely to be at moderate risk of impacts, especially from coastal flooding.
Any westward shift in Lee’s path would increase the risk of landfall in New England and the risk of significant impacts to the west.
Marine influences, including Bermuda
Forecasters are urging deep sea fishing and shipping interests as well as all small vessel and large cruise ship operations to monitor Hurricane Lee’s forecast through this weekend. Large, dangerous waves of 20 to 30 feet are possible before the center of the storm, and waves of 10 to 20 feet will radiate outward from the center days before.
As Hurricane Lee passes 100 miles or more west of Bermuda Friday through Saturday, impacts to the islands will be less than 1 on the AccuWeather RealImpact™ hurricane scale. Sustained tropical storm force winds are likely, along with some heavy rain and dangerous waves. But with Bermuda’s high level of building codes, most problems will stem from disruptions to travel and daily activities.
Elsewhere in the Atlantic Ocean
Meanwhile, AccuWeather meteorologists continue to monitor Margot over the mid-Atlantic, which transformed from a tropical storm into a hurricane Monday afternoon. A storm may spend its entire life at sea with little or no impact on land.
Another area AccuWeather meteorologists are tracking is a tropical disturbance, called a tropical wave, which has a high chance of becoming a tropical storm this weekend into next week over the mid-Atlantic.
If the system becomes a tropical storm, the next name on the list for the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season is Nigel.
“The same steering factors (that affect Lee) may affect the system during the second half of September,” Rayno said. “It could take a relatively similar path to Lee’s across the Atlantic.”
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