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Hurricane Lee Track and Timeline: Meteorologists Predict When and Where the Storm Will Hit

Hurricane Lee continues to move north on a path that will likely threaten the New England coast this weekend, after weakening to a Category 1 storm on Thursday. Watches and warnings have been issued for coastal areas from Rhode Island and Massachusetts to Maine.

The effects of Lee were already being felt along the southeast coast of the United States, and forecasters said Lee would make its presence felt with “dangerous waves and rip current conditions” on the beaches of the West Atlantic all week.

Lee quickly intensified during the The very warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean late last week, strengthening into a powerful Category 5 hurricane before wind speeds began to decrease.

Where is Hurricane Lee heading?

As of 5 p.m. EDT Thursday, Lee was a Category 1 storm with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph, according to the hurricane center.

Hurricane force winds extended up to 105 miles from the center of Lee and tropical storm force winds extended up to 345 miles from the center. The center of the storm was about 210 miles west of Bermuda and about 665 miles south of Nantucket, Massachusetts, according to the hurricane center. Lee was moving north at 15 mph.

A map from the National Hurricane Center shows the likely path of Hurricane Lee as of 5 p.m. EDT on September 14, 2023.
A map from the National Hurricane Center shows the likely path of Hurricane Lee as of 5 p.m. EDT on September 14, 2023.

National Hurricane Center

“On the forecast track, the center of Lee will pass west of Bermuda today and tonight, approach the coast of New England and Atlantic Canada on Friday and Saturday, and cross Atlantic Canada on Saturday evening and Sunday,” the hurricane center said Thursday. “Weakening is forecast, but Lee is expected to remain a significant and dangerous hurricane over the next few days.”

A hurricane watch is in effect for Stonington, Maine, to the U.S.-Canada border; New Brunswick, from the Canada-US border to Point Lepreau, including Grand Manan Island; and Nova Scotia, from Digby to Medway Harbour.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for Bermuda; Westport, Massachusetts, north to the US-Canada border; Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.

Where will Hurricane Lee make landfall?

CBS Boston reported Thursday, this landfall is currently planned for far eastern Maine in the Bay of Fundy region late Saturday evening.

The center of Lee is expected to pass about 150 miles east of the Outer Cape Saturday morning, likely as a minimal Category 1 hurricane, strengthening into a northeast-type extra-tropical storm.

“Forecast confidence increased significantly today regarding the final track and impacts of Hurricane Lee,” the station reported.

Will Hurricane Lee hit Massachusetts?

Lee is expected to move up the coast of Massachusetts without making landfall in the state – but coastal areas will feel the effects of the storm.

“If you live in the Cape of Massachusetts or Maine, keep a close eye on Lee as the weekend approaches, because you are now in the cone,” Weather Channel meteorologist Stephane Abrams said Tuesday on ” CBS Mornings.

“The exact position of the storm and the level of impacts we see in the United States will be determined in part by high pressure to the east and a trough to the west,” she said. “If Lee ends up further west, we could have stronger winds, heavier rain, larger swells and coastal flooding. If it slides further east, the impacts will be less intense.”

CBS Boston reports The first bands of rain could form over the islands and Cape Cod around sunset Friday, with the most consistent and heaviest rain likely remaining over Cape Cod, peaking Saturday morning. Coastal areas could also experience 10 to 20 foot waves and some coastal erosion.

Inland areas, away from the coast, are expected to see very little rain and just a few gusts of wind, the station reported.

Will Hurricane Lee hit New York?

New York should not be directly affected, but CBS New York reports Coastal towns across Long Island are bracing for the storm’s potential effects. High waves, dangerous rip currents and beach erosion are likely to be the biggest threats there.

“We had crews last week, and they’ll be out all weekend securing these waterways, building these areas to try to preserve our beaches,” Hempstead Town Supervisor Don Clavin told the station.

Gov. Kathy Hochul also deployed 50 National Guard members to Long Island to help prepare for the storm.

Hurricane Lee Spaghetti Patterns

Spaghetti weather models, or spaghetti plots, are computer models showing the possible paths a storm can take as it develops. These models do not predict the impact or when a storm might hit, according to the Weather Channel, but focus on showing areas potentially at risk.

Spaghetti models of Hurricane Lee mostly showed the storm crossing the Atlantic as it headed north, closing the gap near northern New England. A spaghetti model for Lee created Tuesday, seen below, shows most of the projected paths running along the U.S. coast at least as far as New England, with potential impact along the northern New England coast or the Canadian Maritimes at the end of this week.

A spaghetti model showing the potential paths of Hurricane Lee
A spaghetti model showing the potential paths of Hurricane Lee, September 12, 2023.

National Center for Atmospheric Research/University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

Another series was released Monday by Jim Cantore of The Weather Channel, who wrote: “Recent trends in model guidance have brought #Lee far enough west to place southeastern New England within the NHC trajectory cone. It should be noted that trajectory guidance may have errors of several hundred kilometers during this 5-6 day period. That said, Lee will likely be an expanding player…”

What are hurricane category wind speeds?

Hurricanes are classified on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale, which includes five categories based on the storm’s sustained wind speeds. Here’s a look at the breakdown of categories and how the National Hurricane Center describes the potential level of damage such storms can cause if they make landfall:

Category 1: Sustained wind speed of 74 to 95 mph
“Very dangerous winds will cause damage”

Category 2: Sustained wind speed of 96 to 110 mph
“Extremely dangerous winds will cause significant damage”

Category 3: Sustained wind speed of 111 to 129 mph
“Devastating damage will occur”

Category 4: Sustained wind speed of 130 to 156 mph
“Catastrophic damage will occur”

Category 5: Sustained wind speed of 157 mph or greater
“Catastrophic damage will occur”

Any storm that is Category 3 or higher is considered a “major hurricane” with the potential for “significant loss of life and damage.”


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