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Hurricane Lee Traverses Open Atlantic After Achieving Season’s Initial Category 5 Status

by Lucas Garcia
10 comments
Hurricane Lee

Hurricane Lee advanced through temperate Atlantic waters last Friday, posing a significant threat of strong swells over the northeast Caribbean. It was classified as the season’s inaugural Category 5 hurricane before experiencing a slight downgrade.

Presently demoted to a Category 4, the hurricane is not projected to make landfall. However, meteorologists caution that it could produce perilous waves reaching heights of up to 15 feet (approximately 5 meters) along the northern shores of Puerto Rico and other adjacent islands. Although the hurricane’s trajectory would steer it several hundred miles northeast of the Caribbean, there is no forecast indicating the arrival of tropical storm conditions in the region.

According to the National Hurricane Center, “Despite the hurricane’s immense power, its wind field is not unusually expansive.”

The storm’s coordinates placed it roughly 500 miles (805 kilometers) to the east of the northern Leeward Islands. It boasted wind speeds reaching up to 150 mph (240 km/h) and was advancing in a west-northwest direction at 13 mph (20 km/h).

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“Intensity oscillations, like the one witnessed this morning, are not atypical in powerful hurricanes,” commented the center.

Forecasts suggest that Lee could gain more strength, possibly reaching wind speeds of up to 180 mph (290 km/h). A mere seven Atlantic hurricanes have registered such wind speeds since 1966, as stated by Phil Klotzbach, a hurricane researcher at Colorado State University. One such hurricane was Dorian, which severely impacted the northern Bahamas in 2019, lingering over smaller islands for approximately two days.

Lee’s rapid transition from a Category 1 to a Category 5 storm in under 24 hours was noted by Lee Ingles, a forecaster at the National Weather Service in San Juan. Ingles attributed the quick intensification to warm sea temperatures and an absence of wind shear, stating, “The hurricane had all the optimal conditions to evolve into a formidable storm in a remarkably short duration.”

Ingles further cautioned that the climate change phenomenon would likely result in faster intensifying storms in future years.

The National Hurricane Center warned that hazardous surf conditions and lethal rip currents are anticipated to affect the northern Leeward Islands by late Friday, extending to Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, the Turks and Caicos, the Bahamas, and Bermuda over the weekend.

“Wave heights are projected to range between 10 and 15 feet (approximately 3 and 5 meters), so beach activity is strongly discouraged,” conveyed Ernesto Morales of the National Weather Service in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

While perilous surf and rip currents are expected to extend along most of the U.S. East Coast starting on Sunday, the National Hurricane Center refrained from providing additional details on potential impacts. “It is prematurely early to determine the specific effects, if any, that Lee may have on the U.S. East Coast, Atlantic Canada, or Bermuda by late next week,” added the center.

President Joe Biden of the United States was briefed on the latest trajectory of Hurricane Lee, along with FEMA’s ongoing preparation efforts. The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency announced on Friday that approximately 4.5 million meals and nearly 8.9 million liters of water are in reserve in Puerto Rico, with an additional 250,000 meals and over 600,000 liters of water stored in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Rapid response teams have also been dispatched to both U.S. territories as a preventive measure.

Lee marks the 12th named storm of this Atlantic hurricane season, which commences on June 1 and concludes on November 30, peaking in the month of September.

Tropical Storm Margot was designated as the 13th named storm, originating on Thursday evening. Located about 705 miles (1,135 kilometers) west-northwest of the Cabo Verde Islands, it boasted winds of up to 40 mph (65 km/h). Margot is projected to intensify into a hurricane by early next week and is advancing in a west-northwest direction at 17 mph (28 km/h), expected to remain in open waters.

The National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration had previously predicted a range of 14 to 21 named storms for this season, with an expectation of six to 11 evolving into hurricanes. Among these, two to five could possibly escalate into major hurricanes.

In the Pacific Ocean, Hurricane Jova was observed progressing through open waters, posing no immediate threat to mainland Mexico. The hurricane was located about 820 miles (1,320 kilometers) to the west of the southern tip of Baja California, traveling in a west-northwest direction at 15 mph (24 km/h) with wind speeds reaching up to 85 mph (140 km/h).


For more on climate coverage, visit: https://bigbignews.net/climate-and-environment

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Hurricane Lee

What is the current status of Hurricane Lee?

Hurricane Lee is presently a Category 4 storm after being downgraded from its initial Category 5 status. It is traversing the Atlantic and poses a significant threat of high swells in the northeast Caribbean.

Where is Hurricane Lee located?

As of the latest update, Hurricane Lee is located approximately 500 miles (805 kilometers) east of the northern Leeward Islands.

Is Hurricane Lee expected to make landfall?

No, Hurricane Lee is not currently expected to make landfall. However, it is projected to generate dangerous waves along the northern shores of Puerto Rico and other nearby islands.

How strong are the winds of Hurricane Lee?

The storm boasts wind speeds of up to 150 miles per hour (240 km/h) and is predicted to possibly reach winds of up to 180 mph (290 km/h).

What are the potential impacts of Hurricane Lee on the U.S. East Coast?

While dangerous surf and rip currents are expected along most of the U.S. East Coast starting on Sunday, it is too early to determine the specific effects, if any, that Lee may have on the U.S. East Coast, Atlantic Canada, or Bermuda.

What measures are being taken by FEMA in response to Hurricane Lee?

The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has approximately 4.5 million meals and nearly 8.9 million liters of water in reserve in Puerto Rico. Additionally, roughly 250,000 meals and over 600,000 liters of water are stored in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Rapid response teams have also been dispatched to both U.S. territories as a preventive measure.

What does the rapid intensification of Hurricane Lee indicate?

The rapid transition of Hurricane Lee from a Category 1 to a Category 5 storm in less than 24 hours has been attributed to warm sea temperatures and an absence of wind shear. It is also considered an indication of the potential for more rapidly intensifying storms in future years due to climate change.

How many named storms are expected this Atlantic hurricane season?

The National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) had previously forecasted a range of 14 to 21 named storms for this season, with an expectation that six to 11 could evolve into hurricanes, and of those, two to five could escalate into major hurricanes.

Is there another named storm apart from Hurricane Lee?

Yes, Tropical Storm Margot became the 13th named storm after forming on Thursday evening. It is located about 705 miles (1,135 kilometers) west-northwest of the Cabo Verde Islands and is expected to intensify into a hurricane by early next week.

Are there any other hurricanes active in other oceans?

In the Pacific Ocean, Hurricane Jova is observed progressing through open waters, posing no immediate threat to mainland Mexico. It is located about 820 miles (1,320 kilometers) to the west of the southern tip of Baja California.

More about Hurricane Lee

  • National Hurricane Center: Latest Updates
  • U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency: Hurricane Preparedness and Response
  • National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration: 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season Forecast
  • Colorado State University Hurricane Research: Historical Data on Atlantic Hurricanes
  • Climate Change and Hurricanes: A Scientific Overview
  • Puerto Rico National Weather Service: Local Updates and Warnings
  • U.S. East Coast Weather Forecast: Potential Impacts of Hurricane Lee
  • The Atlantic: Climate Change and the Increase in Storm Intensity
  • Emergency Supplies for Hurricanes: A Comprehensive Guide
  • Tropical Storm Margot: Current Status and Forecast

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10 comments

Taxpayer123 September 9, 2023 - 12:09 am

Hope FEMA is better prepared this time. last time was a mess. Millions of meals and water is good, but will it be enough?

Reply
WeatherFanatic September 9, 2023 - 2:39 am

can’t believe it went from Cat 1 to Cat 5 in less than a day. That’s insane. Stay safe everyone.

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SafetyFirst September 9, 2023 - 3:51 am

Does anyone know where to find reliable emergency supplies? It’s better to be prepared than sorry.

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CaribbeanNative September 9, 2023 - 3:56 am

The rate at which this thing intensified is scary as heck. climate change is no longer a distant threat folks, its happening right now.

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ConcernedMom September 9, 2023 - 10:37 am

Are schools in Puerto Rico going to close? Those waves are dangerous, my kids surf and it’s frightening to think of 15-foot waves.

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InvestorGuru September 9, 2023 - 1:14 pm

Markets are gonna be affected by this, specially the insurance sector. hold onto your hats, its gonna be a wild ride.

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RickyP September 9, 2023 - 1:37 pm

whats going on this year? 13 named storms already, and now Margot? Crazy season for sure.

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IslandGirl September 9, 2023 - 3:08 pm

So now we have to worry about both Lee and Margot? When is this gonna end 🙁

Reply
EcoWarrior September 9, 2023 - 3:53 pm

Y’know this rapid intensification is a clear sign of what’s to come with climate change. we need to get our act together. fast.

Reply
JohnDoe87 September 9, 2023 - 4:49 pm

Wow, Hurricane Lee sounds like no joke. People in the Caribbean should definitely be cautious.

Reply

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