Hurricane Lee is undergoing rapid intensification, reaching Category 2 status and now forecast to reach an “extremely dangerous” Category 5 status – the pinnacle of the Saffir-Simpson scale – on Friday.
Lee now has maximum winds of at least 105 mph – a jump from 80 mph in its last advisory six hours’ prior and a jump of 35 mph within 24 hours.
“Today, the thunderstorms wrapped around the center and boy, once that happened, then it’s like a well-oiled machine,” said FOX Weather Hurricane Specialist Bryan Norcross. “And now it’s good to go over very warm waters with increasingly conducive atmospheric conditions.”
Indeed, Lee is not done getting stronger and will likely become a major hurricane later Friday. It’s forecast to remain a very strong major hurricane through the weekend.
“This storm is going to be a monster,” FOX Weather meteorologist Stephen Morgan said.
HURRICANE LEE LIVE TRACKER: SATELLITES SPAGHETTI COMPUTER MODELS, CONE OF CONCERN AND MORE
By the weekend, Hurricane Lee is expected to bring gusty winds and rough seas to Lesser Antilles and Puerto Rico.
Beyond the weekend, the hurricane is expected to pass north of the islands and into the southwest Atlantic.
FOX Weather hurricane specialist Bryan Norcross stated that Lee is not likely to be a direct threat to Florida, Georgia, or South Carolina, but the storm will generate high surf with powerful waves that may cause damage along the shorelines.
While computer models predict Lee will stay offshore, some indicate that the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast coasts may still feel effects from the storm and monitoring future forecasts is recommended.
WHAT IS THE ‘CONE OF UNCERTAINTY’ IN HURRICANE FORECASTS?
According to the National Hurricane Center, Hurricane Lee is around 800 miles to the east of the northern Leeward Islands.
The hurricane continues to head in a west-northwest heading in the general direction of the northeast Caribbean and southwest Atlantic.
Based on the forecast track, winds could reach Category 4 or 5 strength.
“The atmospheric and oceanic conditions appear extremely favorable for rapid intensification during the next several days,” NHC forecasters said.
HOW ARE HURRICANES RATED? THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON HURRICANE WIND SCALE EXPLAINED
Hurricane Lee is expected to move west-northwest during the coming days and near the islands in the northeast Caribbean during the next 72 hours.
While the cyclone is forecast to pass north of the islands, its close proximity rough seas are expected in the northern Leeward Islands which could cause coastal flooding.
There are currently no watches or warnings in effect for any landmasses.
A Tropical Storm Watch is issued when winds sustained 39 to 73 mph winds are possible within the next 48 hours.
A Hurricane Watch is issued when winds of at least 74 mph are possible within the next 48 hours. These winds may be accompanied by storm surge and coastal flooding.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN WHEN A HURRICANE UNDERGOES ‘RAPID INTENSIFICATION’?
Tropical Storm Lee is expected to become a hurricane later Wednesday and is likely to rapidly intensify into an extremely dangerous major hurricane by Saturday, the National Hurricane Center said.
Original article source: Hurricane Lee rapidly intensifies into Category 2 storm, on track to an extremely dangerous Category 5 Friday