Hurricane Lee has redeveloped into a Category 3 major hurricane and is expected to gain some strength in the Atlantic this week, while the National Hurricane Center has the possibility of developing into Tropical Storm Margot and two more systems.
As of 11 a.m. Monday, it was 365 miles north of the Caribbean’s northern Leeward Islands and 615 miles south of Bermuda, moving northwest at 8 mph with maximum sustained winds of 120 mph and gusts. Its hurricane-force winds extend to 75 miles and tropical-storm-force winds 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.
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.
“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 moves northward over the open central subtropical Atlantic.
At 11 a.m., Marcotte’s center was about 1,245 miles northwest of the Cape Verde Islands, moving north at 10 mph, with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph. Its tropical-storm-force winds extend 105 miles.
“This general movement is expected to continue over the next few days,” forecasters said. “Margot is forecast to become a hurricane later today
May get stronger in next few days.”
This would make Margot the fifth hurricane of the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season after Dawn, Franklin, Italia and Lee.
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 favorable for gradual development of this system later in the week, and a tropical depression may develop.
It will move west-northwestward at 15 to 20 mph over the mid-tropical Atlantic as it develops over the weekend,” forecasters said.
The NHC gives it a 60% chance of making it in 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.