Hurricane Lee, a Category 3 storm, continued its slow trek northwest across the Atlantic on Tuesday.
The forecast has held steady for days in declaring a northern turn, which would spare the southeast coast and the Caribbean from serious impacts. But long-range forecasts are increasingly closing in on a potential landfall along the northeast coast, or even Newfoundland, over the weekend.
By that point, Lee is expected to have withered down to a Category 1 hurricane with a much larger wind field that could spread damaging waves and high winds across a broad swath of the northeast coast.
On Thursday, the storm’s wide wind field could swipe Bermuda, which was under a tropical storm watch Tuesday morning.
The National Hurricane Center said Lee is expected to curve north over the next few days. Florida should start to feel Lee’s far-reaching effects starting Tuesday and continuing through the week in the form of rip currents and rough surf.
“Large waves will spread outward from Hurricane Lee causing dangerous beach conditions and the possibility for coastal erosion along the U.S. eastern seaboard this week,” posted Levi Cowan, lead meteorologist with Tropical Tidbits, on X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter.
— Dr. Levi Cowan (@TropicalTidbits) September 11, 2023
By Tuesday morning, Lee’s old eyewall was nearly gone, replaced by a newer, wider one. But forecasters were still unsure whether the storm would pull itself together enough to re-strengthen. The lattes forecast called for Lee to continually weaken over the next few days as it pulled north.
At 11 a.m. Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center said Hurricane Lee was about 555 miles south of Bermuda with 115 mph maximum sustained winds — a Category 3 storm. It was moving west-northwest at 6 mph and its tropical storm force winds extended outward up to 200 miles from the center. Hurricane-force winds extended up to 90 miles from the center.
Margot and the disturbances
The hurricane center is also tracking two other systems in the Atlantic, including Hurricane Margot and a disturbance. Neither posed a threat to land currently.
Margot reached Category 1 hurricane status Monday evening in the open waters of the middle Atlantic, the fifth hurricane of the 2023 season. The latest forecast track from the hurricane center keeps the storm out to sea for its relatively short life, which could start to wrap up by the weekend.
As of 11 a.m Tuesday, Margot had sustained winds of 85 mph and was moving north at 12 mph. The storm was 890 miles southwest of the Azores.
The disturbance, a tropical wave, absorbed another, weaker disturbance overnight Monday. The winning one had a high chance — 70% — of strengthening into a tropical depression by the weekend as it moves west across the Atlantic.
The next storm name on the list is Nigel.
Miami Herald staff reporter Omar Rodríguez Ortiz contributed to this report.