Hurricane Lee poses a major threat to the Caribbean and the U.S. East Coast

Hurricane Lee, a powerful Category 4 storm, is moving west-northwest in the Atlantic Ocean, threatening to bring heavy swells and dangerous surf conditions to the northeast Caribbean and possibly the U.S. East Coast.

Lee intensifies rapidly over warm waters

Lee became the season’s first Category 5 hurricane on Friday, reaching a peak wind speed of 165 mph, before weakening slightly to 155 mph. The storm underwent a remarkable rapid intensification, doubling its wind speed in just 24 hours. This phenomenon is rare and only occurs when the ocean temperatures are very warm and the wind shear is low.

Hurricane Lee poses a major threat to the Caribbean and the U.S. East Coast
Hurricane Lee poses a major threat to the Caribbean and the U.S. East Coast

Lee is now about 500 miles away from the northern Leeward Islands, a group of islands where the Caribbean Sea meets the western Atlantic Ocean. The storm is expected to slow down over the weekend and into next week, and eventually turn north.

Lee’s path and potential impacts are uncertain

The exact timing and location of Lee’s northward turn are uncertain, and will determine whether the East Coast will see any direct impacts from Lee or just coastal hazards like dangerous surf and rip currents. According to the National Hurricane Center’s five-day forecast, Lee is projected to position itself between the Bahamas and the eastern coast of the United States by the middle of the upcoming week.

Fox News meteorologist Stephanie van Oppen told The New York Post Friday night that it is too early to say what could happen to New York or Boston, but it is very unlikely that Lee will hit them directly. She also said that Lee will maintain its strength as a powerful major hurricane for the next five days.

Meanwhile, the National Weather Service (NWS) has issued an alert cautioning of the possibility of life-threatening rip currents and elevated seas reaching heights of 10 to 15 feet over the weekend along the coastlines of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. The White House said on Thursday that FEMA has deployed assets to the territories.

As per Fox Weather, there are presently no watches or warnings in place for any Caribbean landmasses. Hurricane Lee is projected to bypass Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas, regions that are still in the process of recovery following the impact of Hurricane Idalia on the Gulf Coast.

Lee is the 12th named storm of an active Atlantic hurricane season

Lee is the 12th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30 and peaks in September. Tropical Storm Margot became the 13th named storm after forming Thursday evening about 300 miles off the coast of Cabo Verde in Africa.

The season has been very active so far, with several major hurricanes causing widespread damage and deaths in different parts of the world. Hurricane Idalia devastated parts of Louisiana and Mississippi last month, leaving millions without power and water for weeks. Hurricane Hilary triggered catastrophic flooding in Tennessee and other states, killing dozens of people. Hurricane Gisele slammed into Mexico’s Pacific coast as a Category 3 storm, causing landslides and flooding.

Experts have attributed the increased frequency and intensity of hurricanes to climate change, which is warming up the oceans and creating more favorable conditions for storms to form and strengthen. Scientists have warned that such extreme weather events will become more common and severe in the future unless drastic actions are taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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