Hurricane Lee: Where Is It Headed, And Where Has It Been?

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Hurricane Lee is the third major hurricane of the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season, the latest of these major storms since Hurricane Idalia struck Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas at the end of last month. Here’s the latest information on where Hurricane Lee has been, where it’s headed, and how dangerous it is.

Where has Hurricane Lee struck already?

The storm now known as Hurricane Lee formed at the beginning of this month as a tropical wave on the coast of West Africa. This wave caused a tropical depression, a large low-pressure cyclone surrounded by sustained thunderstorms that orbit around it. As it moved off the coast and westward into the Atlantic, this tropical depression continued to grow in power, eventually being classified as a hurricane on September 5. 

The storm has continued to move northwestward across the ocean and, at one point, intensified into a strong Category 5 hurricane. The hurricane has now waned enough to be given a Category 3 classification and is located about 535 miles south of Bermuda.

Where is Hurricane Lee headed?

As of now, Hurricane Lee seems to be heading north toward Bermuda, and a hurricane advisory has been given to the country by the United States National Hurricane Center (NHC). The center of the hurricane is expected to pass just West of Bermuda on Thursday, September 14 and that night.

After it moves through the Caribbean, the hurricane is forecasted to continue through the East Coast of the United States and Canada. The most recent NHC advisory reads, “risk of wind, coastal flooding, and rain impacts increasing for portions of New England and Atlantic Canada.” The NHC forecasts that the storm will approach the East Coast of the U.S. and Canada on Friday or Saturday of this week.

How strong is Hurricane Lee?

Hurricane Lee is currently classified as a Category 3 hurricane on a scale that goes up to Category 5. The lowest category on the scale is actually a tropical depression, followed by a tropical storm, and then Categories one through five of hurricanes. The defining factor for whether a storm is considered a hurricane is the one-minute-average maximum sustained winds at 10 meters above the surface of the water.

Hurricane Lee’s average winds currently sit at around 115 mph. To be reclassified as a Category 2 hurricane, the winds will need to slow to 111 mph, and to have its classification increased to a Category 4 hurricane, the winds will need to progress past 129 mph.

Secondary effects of Hurricane Lee

The actual hurricane itself isn’t the only danger created by one of these strong tropical storms, and there can be serious indirect hazards as well. The waves created by a hurricane can go on for miles, and those created by Hurricane Lee are predicted to affect the Lesser Antilles, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, the British and U.S. Virgin Islands, the Turks and Caicos Islands, and the Bahamas. These can create dangerous rip currents that make being in the water dangerous, even far away from the storm.