UNITED STATES: A powerful hurricane churning in the Atlantic Ocean will affect the east coasts of the United States and Canada this weekend, as per forecasters.
On Wednesday, Hurricane Lee made a turn to the north. It is expected to strengthen as it moves northward, reaching massive hurricane strength near the coast of New England by Friday evening.
As of right now, Lee’s sustained winds are 110 mph (175 km/h), according to the US National Hurricane Centre (NHC). On Canada’s coastline, residents have also been advised to prepare for the storm.
The NHC issued an advisory on Wednesday stating that “slow weakening is forecast during the next few days; however, Lee is likely to remain a large and dangerous hurricane into the weekend.”
Forecasters warn that, because of Lee’s extensive size, regions well away from the hurricane’s core may experience its impact.
On Wednesday, Lee weakened to a category-two hurricane. Hurricane-force winds can be felt up to 115 miles (185km) from its centre, while tropical storm-force winds extend outward for up to 240 miles.
The US National Weather Service (NWS) reports that Lee is already “producing dangerous surf and rip currents” along the southeastern US coast.
Hurricane and tropical storm watches have been activated along the entire coastlines of Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and a significant portion of Maine. Bermuda was previously placed under a tropical storm warning earlier this Wednesday.
Lee, which developed during the first week of September, is predicted to lash states that have already seen rainfall that is above average over the past month.
On Tuesday night, Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey declared a state of emergency due to flash floods causing road damage, sinkholes, and building destruction in certain areas of the state. Furthermore, experts caution that the hurricane may uproot trees.
Because of Lee’s substantial size, it remains challenging for experts to pinpoint its exact landfall location. However, they anticipate it will probably occur somewhere in the vicinity of Maine and Nova Scotia on either Sunday or Monday.
Ahead of landfall, forecasters predict that Lee will usher in coastal flooding, significant rainfall, and storm surges to the area over the upcoming weekend. Forecasters are expected to improve their accuracy in projecting Lee’s future path in the coming days.
Lee is the 12th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, which typically spans from June to November. This year, the season is anticipated to be more active than usual.
On September 8th, Lee rapidly intensified from a category one to a category five hurricane within just 24 hours. This astonishingly swift intensification ranks as the third fastest in the last four decades, leaving climate scientists amazed.
While the influence of climate change on tropical storm frequency remains uncertain, the rising sea surface temperatures heat the air above, providing increased energy to fuel hurricanes.
Consequently, these storms are likely to become more severe and produce more extreme rainfall.