(NEW YORK) — Hurricane Lee, now churning over the Atlantic Ocean, has become a Category 5.
As a Category 5, hurricane Lee is expected to have winds of 160 mph.
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) sent out an advisory notice after Lee became a Category 5, warning that dangerous beach conditions were expected to develop around the Western Atlantic through early next week.
“Lee is a dangerous Category 5 hurricane, and further strengthening is possible,” the NHC said in an advisory notice at 5 a.m. on Friday morning. “Lee’s core is expected to move well north of the northern Leeward Islands, the Virgin Island, and Puerto Rico this weekend and early next week.”
On Thursday, Lee strengthened from a Category 2 hurricane to a Category 4, and finally to a Category 5 by 11 p.m. ET.
Lee is expected to move north of the Caribbean islands over the weekend, sparing them any direct impacts other than rough surf and rip currents.
By next week, the spaghetti models show the storm turning north before reaching Turks and Caicos. Bermuda may be in Lee’s path.
Long-range models can change over the next week, but they currently show Lee moving parallel to the eastern United States coastline. If Lee stays on that course, the East Coast would be hit with large surf and rip currents by late next week.
It is too early to predict whether Lee will impact the U.S., but some models show the storm hitting the Maine/Canada border around Sept. 16. By that time, Lee will be weaker, and likely won’t be a major hurricane.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has pre-deployed assets to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, according to the White House.
President Joe Biden was briefed Thursday on the latest trajectory and FEMA’s preparations, the White House said.
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