According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Hurricane Lee intensified into a Category 4 storm as it moved west toward the Caribbean Islands.
As of 5 p.m. Thursday, Lee’s core was about 780 miles east of the Leeward Islands in the northeastern Caribbean, with winds of up to 130 mph. The NHC reported that the storm is moving westward at about 15 mph and is expected to stay in that direction “for the next few days.”
“Further strengthening is expected tonight,” the National Health Commission wrote in its latest update. “Thereafter, fluctuations in intensity are expected, but Lee is expected to remain a strong hurricane next week.”
Officials said “dangerous surf and life-threatening rip currents” were expected to reach the Leeward Islands on Friday and continue westward throughout the weekend, hitting Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, Turks and Kaiser. Kos Islands and the Bahamas. However, forecasters believe the eye of the storm may remain in the northern Caribbean.
Hazardous surf and offshore conditions are expected through Sunday for much of the U.S. East Coast, the NHC added. By early Saturday morning, Lee expects winds to intensify to a Category 5 with peak gusts of 160 mph.
AccuWeather Meteorologist Alex DaSilva previously said Lee was classified as a Category 1 hurricane earlier Thursday, and forecasters said it was too early to tell whether the storm would have an immediate impact. Weekly newspaper According to storm forecasts, the East Coast will not feel Lee’s effects until next week.
“A lot can change in these seven or eight days, but over the next few days we’re pretty confident that the storm will intensify here fairly quickly,” da Silva said.
Weekly newspaper We contacted the NHC via email on Thursday evening for more information.
Tropical Storm Idalia made landfall in Big Bend, Florida, as a Category 3 hurricane on Aug. 30, and a little more than a week later, Hurricane Lee became a Category 1 hurricane. The storm swept across the northern Sunshine State, moving into parts of Georgia and South Carolina, causing power outages, damage and severe flooding.
There was a third death related to Hurricane Idalia in the state on Thursday, according to Florida law enforcement. miami herald. A 90-year-old man was killed when a tree fell on his tractor while clearing debris from the storm, officials said. The date, time and location of the man’s death are not yet known.
Two other storm-related deaths have been reported in Florida. A 60-year-old man in Brevard County died while windsurfing, and a 59-year-old man in Alachua County died when his Toyota Tacoma pickup truck veered off the road and hit a tree due to bad weather.
Another person was killed when a tree fell on their vehicle last Thursday in Lowndes County, Georgia, officials reported.