The newly formed tropical depression in the Atlantic Ocean has become Tropical Storm Lee and is expected to develop into a hurricane by Thursday as the season approaches its typical peak in early September.
Tropical Depression 13 formed Tuesday morning in the central tropical Atlantic Ocean, about 1,000 miles west-southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The National Hurricane Center said in a 5 p.m. update that the depression had intensified into a tropical storm later in the day. The update said Lee was expected to grow into a major hurricane by Friday before reaching Category 4 status by Saturday.
Tropical Storm Lee has sustained winds of 45 mph with higher gusts and is moving west-northwest at 16 mph.
“Lee is expected to become a major hurricane by the end of this week and could affect the Leeward Islands by then. It is too early to say the location and magnitude of these potential impacts, but those interested in this area should monitor Lee’s progress and do more,” the Hurricane Center warned. From updates to outlook.
As the depression moves steadily west-northwest this week, it will enter increasingly favorable conditions for strengthening: plenty of moisture, low wind shear and abnormally warm water extending roughly along the potential hurricane’s projected path.
“The NHC intensity forecast is very optimistic relative to the first forecast, but falls significantly below the intensity consensus,” said a discussion of the storms conducted by the National Hurricane Center. “All indications are that the recession will turn into a strong hurricane by the end of the forecast period.”
The system is expected to become a hurricane early Thursday and will be the fourth to reach this status this season, after Don, Franklin and Idalia. The hurricane is expected to strengthen significantly by the end of the week and is expected to become the third Category 3 hurricane of the season or stronger by the start of the weekend.
It will track generally west-northwest across the tropical Atlantic Ocean through the weekend and pass near the Leeward Islands over the weekend as a hurricane. Any shifts along its path as it approaches the islands could have a greater impact there and beyond. Anyone in the eastern Caribbean – including the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico and Hispaniola – as well as the Bahamas will need to watch the forecast closely.
It’s too early to tell whether or not this system will directly affect the US mainland, but even if the hurricane stays out at sea, dangerous waves and rip currents could once again threaten the East Coast. One person was killed in a stream in New Jersey over the Labor Day weekend.
Sunday, September 10 is the weather peak of the Atlantic hurricane season, when the basin is at its busiest on average. A flurry of tropical activity surrounding this date is not uncommon, but it can quickly turn dangerous.
The 2023 Atlantic season has already been a busy one: it is Above average tracking For a number of different metrics including the number of named storms, the number of hurricanes, and the number of major hurricanes, according to Philip Klotzbach, a research scientist at Colorado State University.