Hurricane Lee is drifting over the Atlantic, and the powerful storm could bring potentially deadly rip currents and dangerous conditions to beaches up and down the U.S. East Coast in the coming days.
“Dangerous waves and rip currents are expected to begin appearing along much of the U.S. East Coast later today, and are expected to worsen throughout this week,” the National Hurricane Center said in an update Sunday.
The hurricane is expected to continue moving north of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the Leeward Islands, but it could have an impact on both these regions and other Caribbean islands.
It is still too early to determine its path throughout the week and the intensity that its impacts could have for the northeastern states of the United States, Bermuda and Atlantic Canada.
The East Coast is bracing for the same kind of big waves and rip currents that the Caribbean is facing now.
Now a Category 2 storm with maximum winds of 180 kilometers per hour, Lee is expected to strengthen in the coming days, the North American hurricane center said on Sunday.
The hurricane was centered about 275 miles (435 kilometers) off the Leeward Islands on Sunday morning, moving at a speed of about 8 miles per hour.
On Thursday, it was a Category 1 storm, and reached Category 5 status with exceptional speed as it moved westward across the Atlantic. Its wind speed more than doubled in just one day, to 265 kilometers per hour.
Changes in wind direction and a cycle of replenishment of the hurricane’s eyewall — a process that occurs with most large, long-lived hurricanes — have since led to the storm’s weakening, according to meteorologists.
Different scenarios for Lee’s route
Computer model trends for Lee show the hurricane turning north early this week.
But exactly when this change will occur and how far west the storm will move will play a fundamental role in defining how close it will be to the United States.
An area of high pressure over the Atlantic, known as the Bermuda High, will have a major influence on its speed.
As this pressure area weakens this week, the hurricane may begin moving north. There, the position of strong wind currents, which can change the direction of a hurricane’s path, will influence Lee’s fate.
Heading to the USA or Bermuda
If high pressure weakens significantly, the storm could make a rapid turn north in the coming days.
If the wind current establishes itself along the East Coast, it will act as a barrier that prevents Lee from approaching the coast.
This scenario would keep the hurricane further from the North American coast, but could bring the storm closer to Bermuda.
If wind currents advance across the continent, parts of the East Coast, especially north of the Carolinas, would be much more vulnerable to Lee’s approach.
Source: CNN Brasil
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