Lee, the 13th named storm of 2023’s Atlantic hurricane season, is now a hurricane and will only continue to strengthen through the week.
As of the latest from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) on Thursday morning, Hurricane Lee was located about 960 miles east of the northern Leeward Islands, which includes the USVI, BVI, Anguilla, St. Martin, St. Kitts & Nevis, Antigua, and more.
The storm was traveling at 13mph, bringing maximum sustained winds of up to 80 mph as it moves slowly toward the west-northwest. That “rapid intensification” is expected to start on Thursday and Lee could become a “major hurricane” by early Friday. However, while uncertainty remains, and some models have the storm moving closer to land, the NHC does not expect a major impact from the storm.
There are currently no coastal watches or warnings in effect for any of those areas, nor is there any watch in effect for anywhere in the U.S. or Mexico. The only danger message from the NHC right now is for potentially life-threatening swells, which are expected to reach the Lesser Antilles on Friday and then reach the British and U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, the Bahamas, and Bermuda this weekend.
Still, the NHC is warning the Lee will only pick up steam as it travels over warm waters through the next three days, and while it may not be expected to hit any of those Caribbean islands particularly hard, things could change as it strengthens and those in Puerto Rico and the rest of the Leeward Islands should be aware of its progress.