Growing Hurricane Lee threatens Eastern US coastline with powerful waves and rip currents
Hurricane Lee, a Category 2 storm, poses a threat to the U.S. East Coast and the Caribbean Islands.
Hurricane Lee, which rapidly intensified into a Category 5 storm on Thursday, has weakened slightly but still poses a threat to the U.S. East Coast and the Caribbean Islands.
The storm is expected to regain strength as it moves slowly in the southwestern Atlantic.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported that Lee had winds of 105 mph, making it a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.
The storm was located about 280 miles east-northeast of the northern Leeward Islands and was moving west-northwestward.
Lee is forecast to slow down in the next few days and become a major hurricane again by early next week. According to the NHC, it remains too early to ascertain any potential effects Hurricane Lee might bring to the U.S. East Coast, Atlantic Canada, or Bermuda in the later part of next week.
However, the storm is already generating dangerous surf and rip currents along most of the U.S. Eastern Seaboard, which will worsen throughout the week.
FOX Weather Hurricane Specialist Bryan Norcross warned that Lee could cause damage along the shorelines of Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina due to the high surf and powerful waves.
The storm is also affecting the Caribbean Islands, where it is creating hazardous sea conditions and life-threatening rip currents. The U.S. Coast Guard advised people and boaters in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands to avoid boating, fishing, beach-going, or engaging in water sports this weekend.
“We are concerned about people and boaters who may underestimate the impacts of this passing storm,” said Capt. José E. Díaz, Coast Guard Sector San Juan (Puerto Rico) commander.
“The increase in projected sea states of 10 to 15 feet severely reduces our ability to respond to maritime distress with the full use of our resources.”
Lee is one of the most remarkable storms of this hurricane season, as it went from a Category 1 hurricane with 80 mph winds on Wednesday night to a Category 5 monster with 165 mph winds just 24 hours later. It was only the 13th Category 5 storm to form east of the Caribbean on record.
“When you see a storm that is wrapped up like that, then you know, you’ve got storm in the upper echelon” said FOX Weather Hurricane Specialist Bryan Norcross.
“And this has been a really one for the record books in so many ways. And just thankfully, it’s not heading for land, at least there in the short term.”
The storm encountered wind shear on Friday, which weakened it to a Category 3 hurricane. After briefly weakening to a Category 2 hurricane on Saturday, it is anticipated to regain major hurricane status early next week as it meanders in the Southwestern Atlantic.