Screenshot courtesy of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Society/NPR
Hurricane Lee, a powerful Category 3 storm, will move north of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands over the next two days, the National Hurricane Center said. But the hurricane is expected to strengthen and bring dangerous surf conditions along the US East Coast beginning Sunday.
The hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 110 mph, is already causing life-threatening rip currents to affect parts of the Lesser Antilles, British and Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, Turks and Caicos Islands, and the Bahamas. and Bermuda, forecasters said Sunday morning.
However, no coastal watch or warning was in effect at that time.
Lee’s forecast has fluctuated wildly in recent days. It quickly reached Category 5 strength before being downgraded early Saturday, the highest water temperature ever recorded in the Atlantic. But it is expected to strengthen in a couple of days.
A Category 3 storm, considered a major hurricane, can cause devastating damage to well-built homes, uproot trees and cut off power and water supplies for days.
“It is too early to know what extent of impacts Lee may have on the East Coast, Atlantic Canada or Bermuda late next week, especially as the hurricane is expected to weaken significantly over the southwest Atlantic.” Center said Sunday at 11 a.m. ET in the advisory.
Dangerous surf and rip currents are expected to begin along much of the East Coast late Sunday and will worsen throughout the week as the lee grows in size, forecasters said.