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Hurricane Lee stirs northern Caribbean Seas: Heavy swells and warnings issued

Posted: Sunday, September 10, 2023. 7:50 am CST.

By Breaking Belize News Staff: As the Atlantic hurricane season reaches its peak, Hurricane Lee rages northeast of the Caribbean, bringing powerful swells to several islands. While it is not anticipated to make landfall, its effects are already being felt across various territories.

As of Sunday morning, the eye of the storm hovered approximately 280 miles (450 kilometers) northeast of the northern Leeward Islands, with its maximum sustained winds tapering to 105 mph (165 kph). Impressively, Lee underwent a swift metamorphosis, intensifying from a Category 1 to a Category 5 storm within just 24 hours last week.

Lee Ingles from the National Weather Service in San Juan attributed this rapid transformation to “the perfect conditions for a hurricane: warm waters and hardly any wind shear.” However, fluctuations in strength are forecasted with the National Hurricane Centre anticipating Lee to regain force in the days ahead only to weaken again.

Residents of Puerto Rico and its neighboring islands are on high alert. Waves surging up to 20 feet (6 meters) are predicted to batter these regions early this week. Concurrently, warnings of potential coastal flooding have been issued for areas along Puerto Rico’s northern shoreline and the eastern side of St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands.

Further, the National Hurricane Centre has flagged that treacherous surf and rip currents may affect most of the US East Coast starting Sunday. The Centre advises caution, stating, “It is way too soon to know what level of impacts, if any, Lee might have along the US East Coast, Atlantic Canada, or Bermuda…”

The trajectory of Hurricane Lee remains unpredictable. Although a northward direction is forecasted for Wednesday, its path afterward is yet to be determined.

Simultaneously, the Atlantic witnesses the birth of its 13th storm of the season, Tropical Storm Margot. While it currently poses no immediate threat to land, it is projected to mature into a hurricane by next week.

This bustling hurricane season seems to match the predictions of the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration, which in August forecasted between 14 and 21 named storms. With the season still ongoing, regions are advised to remain prepared and vigilant.


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