BLOOMBERG — Hurricane Lee is the strongest Atlantic storm since 2019 with wind speeds of 165 miles per hour, and the U.S. National Hurricane Center said the Category 5 system is far from done growing. Although the storm is far from land, forecasters are unsure of its final path.
Lee’s maximum wind speeds are expected to reach 180 kilometers per hour. John Cangiarosi, the center’s senior hurricane expert, wrote in a forecast that it will move “through even warmer waters” by late Friday.
“It is too early to know how much impact, if any, Mr. Lee is likely to have on the U.S. East Coast.” “In particular, the hurricane is expected to subside significantly in the southwestern Atlantic, so it could reach Atlantic Canada or Bermuda late next week,” Cangiarosi wrote. “In any event, dangerous surf and rip currents are expected across much of the U.S. East Coast starting Sunday.”
If Lee’s winds reach a predicted maximum speed of 180 mph; It is one of only seven aircraft to reach that strength in the satellite era since 1966. Phil Klotzbach, a hurricane researcher at Colorado State University, said in a social media post.
Heatwaves caused by climate change in the world’s oceans have been causing storms since January. On Thursday, Hurricane Joba also reached Category 5 status in the Pacific Ocean west of Mexico for several hours, with wind speeds of 160 miles per hour.
In addition to Lee, Tropical Storm Margot is also forming in the central Atlantic and is expected to move north through the vast ocean between Bermuda and the Azores late next week. This is the 14th storm in the basin, including an unnamed system in January. This means that with more than two months left until the end of hurricane season, the Atlantic Ocean is already experiencing an average number of storms per year.
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