Hurricane Lee has strengthened into a significant Class 5 storm, packing most sustained wind speeds of 160 mph because it spins over the Atlantic nicely east of the Caribbean, the Nationwide Hurricane Heart stated in an 11 p.m. ET advisory Thursday.
Lee, which was a Class 1 storm earlier Thursday, has been intensifying with distinctive velocity within the heat waters of the Atlantic Ocean, doubling its wind speeds within the final 24 hours.
The hurricane was positioned about 700 miles east of the northern Leeward Islands, the hurricane heart stated within the 11 p.m. advisory.
The storm will probably attain its peak depth by this weekend and continues to be anticipated to be a harmful hurricane over the southwestern Atlantic early subsequent week, although it’s too quickly to know whether or not this technique will instantly affect the US mainland.
Harmful surf and rip currents will unfold throughout the northern Caribbean on Friday and start affecting america on Sunday, the middle stated.
View this interactive content material on CNN.com
There’s growing confidence that the middle of Lee will cross to the north of the Leeward Islands, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico this weekend and into early subsequent week. Tropical storm situations, life-threatening surf and rip currents may happen on a few of these islands over the weekend.
Additionally Thursday, a tropical melancholy within the jap Atlantic strengthened into Tropical Storm Margot, only a few hundred miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands, the middle stated. Margot presently has winds of 40 mph and regular strengthening is anticipated – the middle is forecasting Margot to grow to be a hurricane over the weekend. The forecast observe exhibits the storm turning to the north over the central Atlantic early subsequent week, however it isn’t anticipated to threaten any land areas as of Thursday.
Pc mannequin tendencies for Lee have proven the hurricane taking a flip to the north early subsequent week. However precisely when that flip happens and the way far west Lee will handle to trace by then will play an enormous function in how shut it will get to the US.
Right here’s what’s going to steer the storm and two potential eventualities meteorologists are watching for the way the US menace may play out.
A number of steering elements on the floor and higher ranges of the environment will decide how shut Lee will get to the East Coast.
Lee’s potential observe subsequent week will likely be decided by a number of atmospheric elements together with a robust space of excessive stress to its east (yellow circle) and the jet stream (silver arrows) to its west.
An space of excessive stress over the Atlantic, often called the Bermuda Excessive, can have a significant affect in how shortly Lee turns. The Bermuda Excessive is anticipated to stay very sturdy into the weekend, which is able to preserve Lee on its present west-northwestward observe and gradual it down a bit.
Because the excessive stress weakens subsequent week it’s going to permit Lee to start out transferring northward.
As soon as that flip to the north happens, the place of the jet stream – sturdy upper-level winds that may change the route of a hurricane’s path – will affect how carefully Lee is steered to the US.
State of affairs: Out to Sea
Lee may make a fast flip to the north early subsequent week if excessive stress weakens considerably.
If the jet stream units up alongside the East Coast, it’s going to act as a barrier that stops Lee from approaching the coast. This situation would preserve Lee farther away from the US coast however may convey the storm nearer to Bermuda.
Monitor State of affairs: An space of excessive stress (yellow circle) to the east of Lee and the jet stream (silver arrows) to the west of Lee, can pressure the storm to trace between the 2, away from the US coast.
State of affairs: Near East Coast
Lee may make a slower flip to the north as a result of the excessive stress stays strong, and the jet stream units up farther inland over the Jap US. This situation would depart parts of the East Coast, primarily north of the Carolinas, weak to a a lot nearer strategy from Lee.
Monitor State of affairs: An space of excessive stress (yellow circle) to the east of Lee and the jet stream (silver arrows) to the west of Lee, can pressure the storm to trace between the 2, nearer to the US coast.
All these elements have but to come back into focus, and the hurricane continues to be a minimum of seven days from being a menace to the East Coast. Any potential US affect will grow to be extra clear because the Lee strikes west within the coming days.