There’s another major storm rapidly intensifying into what could be an extremely dangerous hurricane in the Caribbean—Tropical Storm Lee, the 13th named storm of 2023’s Atlantic hurricane season.
According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Lee is forecast to “become a major hurricane by late this week” and could hit the Leeward Islands—the BVI, USVI, Antigua & Barbuda, St. Martin, St. Barthelemy, and more—sometime this weekend.
The NHC, in its 11 a.m. warning on Tuesday, said that Lee is currently moving over “record-warm waters” that could make it rapidly intensify by the end of the week, possibly producing winds of up to 145 mph, which would make it a Category 4 Hurricane, the level that Hurricane Idalia reached before it hit Florida’s Big Bend late last month.
Currently, Lee is producing maximum sustained winds of 65 mph as it moves west toward the Leeward Islands. The NHC said it is “too soon” to determine where the storm could have an impact.
Some long-range models from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have the storm curving away from the Caribbean and not having an impact there or on the east coast of the United States at all. But, coverage from NPR on Wednesday pointed back to 2017’s Hurricane Irma, which was expected to also curve away from the U.S. but ended up tearing through Florida’s Gulf Coast and becoming the longest-lasting powerful hurricane or typhoon ever recorded
The NHC is warning everyone residing in or traveling through the Leeward Islands to monitor the storm through the weekend.