Models show Hurricane Lee could slam into the East Coast next week, bringing deadly storm surge and heavy rains to Boston and New York City, as it conjures memories of Superstorm Sandy’s catastrophic impact on the region.
On Thursday, Hurricane Lee was churning in the open waters to the northeast of the Caribbean as a Category 4 storm and heading toward the Leeward Islands. The storm has picked up steam in the last day and now has winds in excess of 130mph.
‘Lee continues to strengthen at an exceptional rate,’ the National Hurricane Center stated.
The European model of the storm’s path, analyzed by CBS New York, shows the storm directly hitting Boston, but also could impact New York City and parts of Long Island given its massive size.
‘This will definitely be a big player for our area,’ CBS New York meteorologist Lonnie Quinn said.
Sandy slammed into the Northeast area in 2012, leaving parts of New York City underwater and more than 40 people dead in the metro area.
Spaghetti models of Hurricane Lee’s path – maps which show computer simulations of where the center of the storm could be in several days time, given a set of variables – show Lee turning northeast and heading up the East Coast.
The closer the lines are together, the more confidence it gives forecasters in what the storm might do.
According to the European model, there is a front along the East Coast next week that could keep Lee at sea, but if it breaks apart, it would clear the path for the storm to hit the Northeast, CBS New York meteorologist said.
In that model, the storm would make landfall in Massachusetts.
An American model, meanwhile, shows Lee scraping along the coast of Cape Cod, and then heading into the Canadian Maritimes.
In that scenario, the East Coast would still feel the impact of the storm – though it would likely be less than a direct hit.
On Thursday night, Lee was located about 705 miles east of the northern Leeward Islands.
It was a Category 4 storm, which means it has sustained winds between 130 and 156ph. But forecasters expect it to reach Category 5 in the coming days.
Most models show it as a Category 4 as it approaches the U.S. coast.
President Joe Biden on Thursday was given the hurricane’s latest trajectory and details of preparations underway by the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency, which deployed unidentified assets to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to the White House.
The storm is expected to cause life-threatening surf and rip currents to the Lesser Antilles on Friday. Swells are expected to hit the U.S. Virginia Island, Puerto Rico, the Bahamas and Bermuda this weekend.
‘We will see waves between 10 and 15 feet, so we don’t want anyone on the beaches,’ said Ernesto Morales with the National Weather Service in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The National Hurricane Center said dangerous surf and rip currents were forecast for most of the U.S. East Coast starting on Sunday.
Lee is the 12th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30, and peaks in September.
Tropical Storm Margot became the 13th named storm after forming on Thursday evening. It was located some 290 miles west-northwest of the Cabo Verde Islands.
The US is still recovering from Hurricane Idalia, which made landfall in Florida in late-August. It brought rain and deadly surge to parts of the Sunshine State and also caused havoc in Georgia and the Carolinas.