Hurricane Lee is set to send huge rip tides across the East Coast as soon as this weekend, even as meteorologists are still unsure if the eye of the storm will make landfall. 

Severe surges could generate waves up to 10 feet tall crashing into the eastern seaboard on Sunday, risking flash flooding and structural damage. 

The storm system alarmed forecasters after it escalated from a Category 1 to Category 5 hurricane overnight Thursday, as its wind speeds soared from 80mph to over 160mph in a matter of hours. 

It has since been downgraded to a Cat 2 storm, although forecasters say it could strengthen again. 

As of Saturday evening, the twister was whipping through the Atlantic at 105mph around 285 miles northeast of the Leeward Island in the Caribbean, and is moving west at 10mph, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said

The weather service warned that Lee is ‘expected to grow in size over the next few days’, and although its path is uncertain is is forecast to cause ‘hazardous beach conditions’ for areas in its path. 

Hurricane Lee has been fighting against wind shear as it passes over the Leeward Islands, which has reduced its speed and relegated it to a Category 2. 

But the NHC warnings that it is set to strengthen over the weekend could see dangerous conditions by Sunday, which may deteriorate further into next week. 

Meteorologists have struggled to nail down the storm’s path since it formed as a Category 1 hurricane on Wednesday, leading to varying predictions over the damage it could cause. 

Computer generated models in recent days have shown the storm potentially slamming into major cities including New York City and Boston, while it also has the potential to turn back to the Atlantic.

Similarly comforting models have been tragically wrong in the past, however. In 2017, meteorologists predicted Hurricane Irma would turn towards the ocean, before it battered Florida’s Gulf Coast and led to at least 92 deaths

Even if Lee never makes it to the US, the spiral over the Atlantic is set to send rip currents and large waves to huge swaths of the coastline by Sunday. 

The National Hurricane Center warned that the dangerous surf conditions could intensify through the week – with any potential landfall coming near the weekend. 

While east coast residents brace for impact, the Caribbean islands have offered a glimpse at what is to come as heavy swells battered the northeast of the region on Saturday evening. 

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