Hurricane Lee poses a threat to the east coast of US and Canada

Hurricane Lee, a massive storm that formed in the Atlantic Ocean, is expected to bring strong winds, heavy rain and coastal flooding to the east coast of the US and Canada this weekend. The hurricane, which reached Category 5 intensity last week, has weakened slightly to a Category 3 storm, but remains large and dangerous.

Hurricane Lee’s current status and forecast

According to the US National Hurricane Center (NHC), Hurricane Lee has maximum sustained winds of 110 mph (175 km/h) as of Wednesday, September 13, 2023. The storm is moving slowly northwestward, about 545 miles (880 km) south of Bermuda. A tropical storm warning is in effect for Bermuda, meaning that tropical storm conditions are expected within 36 hours.

Hurricane Lee poses a threat to the east coast of US and Canada
Hurricane Lee poses a threat to the east coast of US and Canada

The NHC said that Hurricane Lee is likely to remain a powerful hurricane through the weekend, but some fluctuations in intensity are possible. The storm is forecast to turn northward by midweek, and then northeastward toward the coast of New England or Atlantic Canada by Friday or Saturday. The exact track and timing of the storm are still uncertain, but the NHC warned that “interests in these areas should monitor the progress of Lee”.

Hurricane Lee’s potential impacts

Hurricane Lee is already producing dangerous surf and rip currents along the southeastern US coast, Bermuda and the northern Caribbean islands. These conditions are expected to worsen and spread northward along much of the US East Coast during the next couple of days. The NHC advised people to avoid the water in these areas.

Depending on the final track of Hurricane Lee, some parts of the east coast of the US and Canada could experience direct impacts from the storm this weekend. These could include hurricane-force winds, several inches of rain, storm surge and coastal flooding. The NHC said that “it is too soon to determine what, if any, other direct impacts Lee might have on these areas”.

Some areas that could be affected by Hurricane Lee are already dealing with the aftermath of previous storms or extreme weather events. For example, Massachusetts declared a state of emergency on Tuesday night after flash floods washed out roads, created sinkholes and destroyed buildings in parts of the state. Experts also warn that the hurricane may topple trees and cause power outages.

Hurricane Lee’s record-breaking features

Hurricane Lee is the 12th named storm of the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June to November and is expected to be more active than average. Lee grew from a Category 1 to a Category 5 hurricane in 24 hours on September 8, becoming the first Atlantic hurricane to reach Category 5 intensity since Dorian in 2019.

Lee’s rapid intensification was one of the fastest on record in the Atlantic basin, tied with Hurricane Matthew in 2016. The storm also achieved temperatures nearly seven times hotter than the core of the Sun, according to some reports. Scientists say that warmer ocean waters due to climate change provide more energy for hurricanes to intensify.

Hurricane Lee is also notable for its large size and slow movement. The storm has hurricane-force winds extending up to 115 miles (185 km) from its center, and tropical-storm-force winds extending up to 240 miles (390 km). This means that areas far from the eye of the storm could still feel its effects. The storm is also moving at a sluggish pace of about 6 mph (10 km/h), which could prolong its impacts on land.

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