Lee has continued to quickly organize today and strengthened into a hurricane Wednesday afternoon as it heads toward the southeastern United States.
As of the 5 p.m. update, the system was 1,130 miles east of the Northern Leeward Islands. The tropical storm had maximum sustained winds of 75 mph and was moving west-northwest at 14 mph.
A mid-level ridge located to the north of Lee should continue to steer the cyclone on a west-northwestward heading through the weekend.
Lee is forecast to become a major hurricane by early Saturday and could bring impacts to the northern Leeward Islands this weekend.
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“Continued steady to rapid strengthening is forecast and Lee is expected to become a hurricane later today and a major hurricane in a couple of days,” the National Hurricane Center said.
While it is too soon to determine the location and magnitude of these possible impacts, interests in this area should monitor the progress of Lee, according to the National Hurricane Center.
A more significant threat from Hurricane Lee to the U.S. East Coast could unfold during the middle or end of next week if the storm turns toward the coast. Lee is expected to continue strengthening over the next couple of days, becoming a Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale this weekend, making it an exceptionally dangerous weather event, according to AccuWeather.
Jonathan Porter, AccuWeather’s Chief Meteorologist, warned, “Lee poses a risk to people from the northern Caribbean to the eastern Bahamas, the East Coast of the United States, Bermuda and Atlantic Canada over the next week to 10 days. We strongly encourage people in this area to monitor the situation closely and check back with AccuWeather routinely, as it has the potential to become a powerhouse Category 5 hurricane, the strongest hurricane of the year.”
Swells generated by Lee are expected to reach portions of the Lesser Antilles on Friday, and the British and U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico this weekend. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions, according to NHC.
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