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Hurricane Lee Path, followed by ‘extremely dangerous’ storm predicted


Tropical Storm Lee has upgraded to a hurricane and is expected to become “extremely dangerous” by the weekend, possibly even intensifying to a Category 4 hurricane, experts warn.

Lee was upgraded to a Category 1 hurricane on Wednesday, according to a 5 p.m. ET update from the National Hurricane Center (NHC), which predicts the storm will become a “major hurricane” by Saturday morning.

As of Wednesday evening, the hurricane had winds exceeding 75 mph and continued to gain momentum, said Kelly Godsey, hydrologist and senior meteorologist with the National Weather Service (NWS) in Tallahassee, Florida. News week in a telephone interview Wednesday evening.

This graphic created by the National Hurricane Center that tracks Hurricane Lee shows an approximate representation of coastal areas under a hurricane warning (red), a hurricane watch (pink), a tropical storm warning (blue), and a tropical storm watch (yellow) beginning Wednesday.
National Hurricane Center

“Extremely favorable” conditions, such as warm ocean water and light wind shear, are helping Lee strengthen quickly, he said.

“Storms like these can escalate very quickly,” Godsey said. News week. “Lee is expected to become a major hurricane by Friday. Amazingly, a Category 4 hurricane by Saturday. This will be when it approaches the Leeward Islands and the US Virgin Islands. Then Lee will approach of Puerto Rico by Sunday.”

Hurricane Lee is moving northwest across the Caribbean Sea at about 14 mph (22 km/h), the NHC said.

Godsey said it’s still too early to predict if Lee will make landfall, but he added that even if the hurricane stays offshore, it could still create life-threatening weather.

“Any time you take a storm like this and approach it to a landmass, it’s going to generate very dangerous waves and potentially deadly rip currents,” he said. “So while this storm remains well off the Leeward Islands and Puerto Rico, there are still hazards that residents of these islands should be aware of as the storm approaches and passes.”

At this time there is no coastal watch or warning in effect, the NHC said, stressing that the Leeward Islands should monitor the storm. Godsey warns that could change, urging residents in the storm’s predicted path to “watch Lee closely.”

Swells generated by Hurricane Lee are expected to reach parts of the Lesser Antilles on Friday, as well as the British and US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico by the weekend. These huge waves are likely to cause “life-threatening surf and rip current conditions,” the NHC said.

Godsey said News week that even if the storm does not approach Florida or the continental United States, some of the extreme weather could reach coastal communities.

“It’s almost like dropping a rock in a pond, the ripples are going in all directions,” he said. “As Lee continues to move northwest and closer to Florida, the swell or waves from the storm will move to the east coast of Florida and the east coast of the United States, and these waves will generate very dangerous, even deadly currents.

He warns that these dangerous conditions on the beaches could occur as early as the beginning of next week.

“Even if Lee doesn’t approach the east coast of Florida, we will still have beach conditions that will be dangerous for people.”

Hurricane Lee Path, followed by ‘extremely dangerous’ storm predicted
A chart from the National Hurricane Center shows the probabilities of sustained surface wind speeds from Hurricane Lee.
National Hurricane Center

Godsey said Lee is expected to be a hurricane for some time, until next week. He said if Lee intensifies into a Category 4, it could lead to winds exceeding 130 mph.

Tropical storm-force winds, up to 120 km/h, are expected to hit Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and the Leeward Islands.

“Now is a great time for everyone to review their hurricane plan,” Godsey said. News week. “The peak of hurricane season is September 10 and here we are on September 6 to talk about what will be a major hurricane. So it’s a great time all over the East Coast of the United States to double-check the preparedness plan. of your family and know what you could do if a storm were to approach your community.”


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