Hurricane Lee has grown back into a Category 3 major hurricane, and as Hurricane Margot forms in the Atlantic this week, the National Hurricane Center has a chance to develop two more systems.
As of 5 p.m. Monday, it was 380 miles north of the Caribbean’s northern Leeward Islands and 600 miles south of Bermuda, moving west-northwest at 7 mph with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph and gusts. Its hurricane force winds extend up to 75 miles and tropical-storm-force winds up to 185 miles.
“Slow west-northwest to northwesterly movement is expected over the next two days, followed by a northward turn by mid-week,” forecasters said. “On the forecast track, Lee is expected to move west of Bermuda in a few days.”
Bermuda remains uncertain, but not yet under any watch or warning. Lee’s tropical storm is expected to threaten conditions along the U.S. coast today, including Florida, after already draining the Atlantic impact areas of the Lesser Antilles, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, Turks and Caicos, Bahamas and Bermuda.
“These swells have the potential to create life-threatening surf and rip current conditions,” forecasters said. “Dangerous surf and rip currents have set in
Affecting parts of the southeastern US coast, these conditions are forecast to spread northward over much of the US East Coast over the next two days.
Cyclone #Lee Resurrected to Type 3 strength with a resurgent eye. Currently creeping west-northwestward, Lee is still forecast to turn northward and remain off the US East Coast, but dangerous surf and rip currents are expected as Lee treks north and grows in size. pic.twitter.com/m7wshllWBA
— UW-Madison CIMSS (@UWCIMSS) September 10, 2023
The intensity forecast system calls for a Category 4 with sustained winds of 130 mph and gusts of 160 mph as a major hurricane late Monday and into Wednesday. The erratic storm last week went from a Category 1 hurricane at 80 mph to a Category 5 hurricane at 160 mph and 165 mph in the first 12 hours before dropping back down to a Category 2 in the first 12 hours and is now growing again.
“Although Lee is expected to weaken later in the week, its magnitude is expected to increase significantly and risks will extend away from the storm’s center by the end of the forecast period,” the forecaster said.
Along its path, Hurricane Lee’s windswept zone could affect Bermuda, followed by an uncertain path to threaten the northeastern states of the United States or Canada. The latest trajectory includes parts of New England within the cone of uncertainty.
“It is too early to tell what level of impacts Lee may have on the US East Coast and Atlantic Canada this weekend, especially as the hurricane is expected to weaken significantly over the southwest Atlantic,” forecasters said.
Meanwhile, Tropical Storm Margot became the fifth hurricane of the season as it moved northward over the open central subtropical Atlantic.
By 5 p.m., the center of Hurricane Margot was about 1,265 miles northwest of the Cape Verde Islands, moving north at 12 mph with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, making it a Category 1 hurricane. It has hurricane force winds of 15 miles and tropical-storm-force winds of 125 miles.
“This movement is expected to continue for the next few days,” forecasters said. “Further strengthening is forecast over the next 48 hours.”
Margot follows the season’s other hurricanes, Don, Franklin, Italia, and Lee, the latter three developing into Category 3 or more major hurricanes.
Elsewhere in the Atlantic, the NHC was tracking two systems likely to develop into the season’s next tropical depression or storm. If they spin up to named storm status, they could become Tropical Storm Nigel and Tropical Storm Ophelia.
The more likely of the two this week, a tropical wave in the eastern tropical Atlantic off the coast of West Africa on Sunday produced some scattered showers and thunderstorms.
“Environmental conditions appear to be favorable for the gradual development of this system, especially after its association with a low pressure area to the west,” forecasters said. “A tropical depression is likely to develop from the integrated system this weekend, moving westward west-northwest at 15 to 20 mph over the central tropical Atlantic.”
The NHC gives a 10% chance over the next two days and a 70% chance over the next seven days.
A close system, but with limited opportunities for limited and disorganized showers and thunderstorm activity in the eastern tropical Atlantic several hundred miles west-southwest of the Cape Verde Islands.
“Further development of this system is unlikely before it merges with a tropical wave to its east over the next two days,” forecasters said.
The NHC gives a 10% chance of developing in the next two to seven days.
2023 season June 1-Nov. 30 has already produced 13 named storms.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s most recent hurricane forecast, updated in August, increased forecasts for an above-average season of 14-21 named storms, of which 6-11 could become hurricanes and 2-5 could become major hurricanes.
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