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Tropical Storm Lee Predicted to Become 'Extremely Dangerous' Hurricane

The storm is expected to reach Bermuda before traveling alongside the east coast of the U.S.

A tropical storm crossing the Atlantic Ocean is likely to be upgraded as hurricane season enters its third month.

The National Hurricane Center warned that Tropical Storm Lee is expected to “rapidly intensify” into an “extremely dangerous hurricane by the weekend” in an update.

As of 5 a.m. EST on Sept. 6, Tropical Storm Lee had sustained winds with a maximum strength of almost 65 mph. Its wind speeds could reach up to 145 mph by Sept. 10. Although no coastal watches or warnings are in effect, the storm is expected to rapidly strengthen as it travels over the Caribbean.

“Swells generated by Lee are expected to reach portions of the Lesser Antilles on Friday. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions,” warned the NHC. “Please consult products from your local weather office.”

The NHC predicts the tropical storm will become a hurricane on Sept. 6 and a major hurricane later in the week. A major hurricane is any Category 3, 4, or 5 storms that have winds between 111 mph to 157 mph or higher.

“Computer models are virtually unanimous in calling for this storm to become a major Category 4 or 5 hurricane during the next few days, given that it will be traversing some of the warmest tropical Ocean waters in the Atlantic under ideal atmospheric conditions,” per Axios.

Tropical Storm Lee is not currently expected to threaten the U.S. but will move toward Bermuda before traveling along the East Coast. The effects of the storm will be felt in Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico around Sept. 9.

Weather experts warned of an “above normal” hurricane season in August. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted 14 to 21 named storms and warned six to 11 of those storms would likely become hurricanes.

Florida is expected to experience a brief reprieve from storms after weeks of rain and intense winds. 

The newest storm comes after Hurricane Idalia ravaged the southeast last week after making landfall in Florida’s Big Bend region on the Gulf Coast,” reports The Hill. “Hurricane Franklin also brought severe winds and rain to the Leeward Islands last week as a tropical storm before turning north and impacting Bermuda. Abnormally warm waters near Florida have made storms grow in strength more quickly.”

Tropical Storm Lee is the twelfth named storm this year, preceded by Tropical Storm Gert and Tropical Depression Katia.

Tropical Depression Katia began to weaken on Sept. 4, roughly 1,045 miles northwest of the Cabo Verde Islands. Experts believe the storm will completely dissipate by the end of the week.

Tropical Storm Gert, which was about 710 miles southeast of Bermuda on Sept. 2, was ultimately absorbed by Hurricane Idalia. 

Hurricane season begins annually on June 1 and lasts until Nov. 30.

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