By Rubén García, Meteorologist
A warm greeting to all readers. I'm meteorologist Rubén García, and I'm here to provide you with an updated forecast for Hurricane Lee. This powerful storm is currently approaching Bermuda, and conditions in the region are expected to deteriorate over the next 36 hours. Beyond Bermuda, Hurricane Lee is projected to move towards the northeastern regions of the United States and Nova Scotia, making it a matter of concern for these areas. Let's delve into the details.
Watches and Warnings
As of this afternoon, authorities have issued a tropical storm watch for areas including New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. In addition, a hurricane watch is in effect for parts of New Hampshire and Maine. It is crucial for residents in these regions to remain vigilant regarding Hurricane Lee's development.
Hurricane Margot and Invest 97
Before we dive deeper into Hurricane Lee, let's briefly touch on Hurricane Margot. This storm is moving slowly through the Atlantic waters and poses no immediate threat to land areas.
Towards the end of this article, we will also discuss Invest 97, a system in the Tropical Atlantic with a high probability of developing into a tropical depression as it continues its northwestward journey.
Hurricane Lee's Strength and Path
Hurricane Lee has indeed begun to weaken, but this weakening process will be gradual over the next few days. Currently, it boasts maximum sustained winds of 105 miles per hour while expanding the reach of its tropical storm and hurricane-force winds. Due to its expansive structure, when Hurricane Lee reaches the northeastern United States or Nova Scotia, it is anticipated to be a Category 1 hurricane.
One look at the extent of tropical storm winds, covering hundreds of miles from the center of circulation, illustrates the significant impact zone. Over the next 12 hours, these winds will start affecting Bermuda. The hurricane-force winds are expected to remain over the Atlantic waters west of Bermuda. A tropical storm warning has been issued for the outer bands accompanied by tropical storm-force winds. Furthermore, a hurricane watch, currently covering parts of New Hampshire and Maine, may soon extend to Nova Scotia.
Forecasted Track and Timeline
The National Hurricane Center provides us with the official forecast track for Hurricane Lee. The storm is set to pass closest to Bermuda during Thursday night before continuing its northward trajectory towards the northeastern United States or Nova Scotia by Saturday afternoon. The effects are likely to begin early on Saturday morning and persist until Sunday afternoon.
Now, let's examine the anticipated effects in Bermuda and much of the northeastern United States. The projection of wind gusts for Bermuda in the coming hours indicates the likelihood of tropical storm-force winds and gusts of up to 70 miles per hour, especially during Thursday night and Friday morning. Subsequently, between Saturday and Sunday, tropical storm winds will impact significant portions of New Hampshire, Maine, as well as areas in eastern Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. Depending on Hurricane Lee's trajectory, some coastal areas of Maine and central and southern Nova Scotia may experience hurricane-force wind gusts.
Sea Conditions and Rainfall
Dangerous sea conditions persist in the northern Bahamas and along the eastern coast of the United States, expected to last until next Friday. For Bermuda, wave heights of up to 30 feet could be recorded over the next 48 hours. As Hurricane Lee approaches the northeastern United States, particularly between Friday night and Sunday, the coastline of the northeastern United States and Nova Scotia should anticipate dangerous sea conditions, coastal flooding, and erosion.
Rainfall is another concern, with the New England region expecting 2 to 5 inches of rain, possibly more in eastern Maine. The strong winds are likely to result in power outages, particularly in eastern New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut. More widespread outages are possible along the Maine coast and for Nova Scotia.
Here's a look at the forecast for the strongest wind gusts that could be recorded. Parts of western Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island may experience wind gusts of 40 to 60 miles per hour between Saturday and Sunday. Even stronger gusts, ranging from 60 to 80 miles per hour, could affect regions in central and eastern Maine and Nova Scotia.
Invest 97: A Developing System
Lastly, let's discuss Invest 97, which continues to show signs of development. It's generating a cluster of thunderstorms closer to its center and is on the verge of becoming the next tropical depression. Once it strengthens, it is expected to be named Tropical Storm Nigel. Fortunately, it should maintain a trajectory far from the Caribbean region.
In terms of intensity, models suggest gradual strengthening over the next 5 days, potentially reaching Category 3 hurricane status by early next week. There is a high level of confidence in the forecasted track, which keeps it away from the Caribbean region. However, Bermuda should remain vigilant about its evolution.
In conclusion, Hurricane Lee poses a significant threat to Bermuda and the northeastern United States, with potential impacts including strong winds, heavy rainfall, and coastal flooding. Additionally, Invest 97 is on our radar, with the potential to become the next hurricane of the season, although it is expected to remain over open Atlantic waters.
We will continue to monitor these weather developments closely and provide updates as needed. Stay safe and informed, and be prepared for changing conditions. Until next time, take care and stay weather-aware.