Hurricane Lee track update: Forecast cone includes part of New England, dangerous surf impacts New Jersey
Meteorologists tracking Hurricane Lee say the powerful storm swirling in the open Atlantic Ocean could have direct impacts on northern New England and eastern Canada, with the official forecast cone now extending into Maine and the Cape Cod region of eastern Massachusetts.
Although the National Hurricane Center is predicting a direct strike for eastern Canada, forecasters say parts of New England may be close enough to the center of the storm to experience some direct impacts such as rain and tropical storm-force winds next weekend.
Meanwhile, much of the eastern United States — including the Jersey Shore — is expected to be surrounded by several days of rough surf and dangerous rip currents even though Hurricane Lee is expected to move about 200 to 300 miles off the coast.
“Leigh remains a large and powerful hurricane,” the National Hurricane Center said in a public warning Tuesday morning.
Lee’s center was orbiting about 575 miles south of Bermuda, and had maximum sustained winds of 115 mph, making it a Category 3 hurricane capable of causing “devastating damage” if it made landfall with winds that strong.
Lee is a major hurricane, with hurricane-force winds extending outward up to 80 miles from the center and tropical storm-force winds extending outward up to 185 miles.
“Hazardous rip currents and rip currents are impacting portions of the southeastern U.S. coast, and these conditions are expected to spread northward along much of the U.S. East Coast over the next two days,” the hurricane center said.
In addition to rough seas and dangerous currents, New Jersey will also get some light winds as Lee moves northward this week, according to the National Weather Service’s regional forecast office in Mount Holly.
“Lee is looking to make his closest pass (into New Jersey) sometime Friday or early Saturday. “With high pressure attempting to build up from the Great Lakes, an extreme pressure gradient is expected to form,” the weather service said. “With refreshing northern winds expected from Friday to Saturday.”
The agency added: “Both days appear to be dry, but some cirrus clouds will be present, especially near the coast.” “Other impacts from Hurricane Lee will include rip currents and high waves on beaches. These risks appear to persist through most of the weekend.
Forecasters said rip currents at the Jersey Shore “have become significant today and will become more intense over the remainder of the week as the storm moves northward into the western Atlantic.”
Farther north, forecasters are urging residents and vacationers in eastern New England to monitor Hurricane Lee’s path. Although a direct strike is unlikely in that area, it is expected to bring turbulent surf, some rain and the possibility of tropical storm force winds of 39 mph or higher, forecasters with Fox Weather said.
Meteorologists are tracking Hurricane Margo
While most of the attention is focused on Hurricane Lee, forecasters are also watching Hurricane Margot and a tropical disturbance in the Atlantic that has a 70% chance of becoming a tropical depression or tropical storm in the next seven days, according to the National Hurricane Center. center.
Margo, which was upgraded from a tropical storm to a Category 1 hurricane Monday afternoon when it reached maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, is currently orbiting about 935 miles southwest of the Azores island chain in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. Its maximum winds are now blowing at about 85 mph.
Forecasters expect Margo to remain a hurricane until Friday morning, before weakening to a tropical storm this weekend, with no immediate threats to any landmasses.
Current weather radar
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Len Melisurgo can be reached at LMelisurgo@njadvancemedia.com.