National Hurricane Center
Hurricane Lee will bring dangerous currents and surf conditions to beaches along the US East Coast this week. Although the strong storm has yet to make landfall anywhere, forecasters are warning people to watch for wind and rain risks.
Lee is currently a Category 3 hurricane, according to National Hurricane Center. It’s much larger than it was a few days ago: Lee’s hurricane-force winds extended 90 miles from its center, while tropical-storm-force winds extended about 205 miles. Compare that to last Friday, when its hurricane force winds extended to 35 mph.
Here are the key things to know about Hurricane Lee as it begins to move northward along the U.S. coast:
The exact route remains uncertain
As of Tuesday afternoon, Lee had sustained winds of 115 mph and was moving west-northwest at just 6 mph on a virtual course. It’s expected to turn north by the middle of this week — and the timing of that movement will affect the American Northeast and Atlantic Canada.
The Current forecast path Lee’s center is seen moving toward New Brunswick, Canada — but along the way, its winds could reach the coast from New York to Maine.
“It is too early to know what level of additional impacts Lee may have on the Northeast U.S. coast and Atlantic Canada this weekend and this weekend.” NHC said On Tuesday.
The good news is that the storm will show “significant weakening” later this week as it passes colder waters north of the Gulf Stream. But while the hurricane center noted the welcome development, it warned that “Lee’s expanding wind field will produce impacts far from the storm’s center.”
Even a glancing blow from Lee was fatal
For a storm this large, Lee’s eyewall doesn’t have to come within 100 miles of the coast to impact land.
Even in areas far from the storm’s center, the NHC said, “Users should continue to monitor for updates to Lee’s forecast over the next few days as wind and rain risks become further away from the center as Lee grows in size.”
Bermuda is under a tropical storm watch
Lee’s forecast track sees the storm linger west of Bermuda. But its large wind farm is still expected to affect the island.
Bermuda Weather Service Tropical Storm Watch issued On Tuesday, he warned that people around the island could expect average wind speeds of 34 to 63 knots (39 to 72.5 mph) with “significant waves and swell”.
Local conditions are expected to improve by Friday, the agency said.
Last week the storm intensified rapidly
A week ago Lee became a named storm. A day later, it became a hurricane and intensified at an alarming rate, soon becoming a Category 5 storm. It then lost that strength – but the storm also got bigger and it slowed.
The frequency of intense and damaging tropical storms and hurricanes has been linked to climate change. as NOAA reported“Surface ocean warming due to human-induced climate change may fuel more powerful tropical cyclones.”
The destructive power of storms is magnified by other factors linked to global warming, from rising sea levels to more intense rainfall.