The risk posed by Hurricane Lee prompted the issuance of a Hurricane Watch and a Tropical Storm Watch for a portion of the Northeast U.S. on Wednesday afternoon. At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Hurricane Lee was located at latitude 27.4°N and longitude 67.6°W which put it about 380 miles (610 km) south-southwest of Bermuda. Lee was moving toward the north-northwest at 9 m.p.h. (15 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 105 m.p.h. (165 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 125 m.p.h. (200 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 952 mb.
A Hurricane Watch was in effect for the portion of the coast from Stonington, Maine to the U.S./Canada border. A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect for Bermuda. A Tropical Storm Watch was in effect for the portion of the coast from Watch Hill, Rhode Island to Stonington, Maine. The Tropical Storm Watch included Block Island, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket.
Hurricane Lee weakened a little on Wednesday, but Lee remained a large and powerful hurricane. A circular eye with a diameter of 36 miles (50 km) was at the center of Lee’s circulation. The eye was surrounded by a broken ring of thunderstorms and the strongest winds were occurring in that ring of storms. Bands of showers and thunderstorms were revolving around the center of Hurricane Lee. Storms near the center of Lee’s circulation generated upper level divergence that pumped mass away from the hurricane.
Hurricane Lee was still a very large hurricane. Winds to hurricane force extended out 115 miles (185 km) from the center of Lee’s circulation. Winds to tropical storm force extended out 265 miles (425 km) from the center of circulation. The Hurricane Intensity Index (HII) was 17.8. The Hurricane Size Index (HSI) was 28.2 and the Hurricane Wind Intensity Size Index (HWISI) was 46.0. Hurricane Lee was similar in size and intensity to Hurricane Frances when Frances hit Southeast Florida in 2004.
Hurricane Lee will move through an environment that will become more unfavorable for a major hurricane during the next 24 hours. Lee will move over water where the Sea Surface Temperatures are near 28°C. An upper level trough over the eastern U.S. will produce southwesterly winds that will blow toward the top of Lee’s circulation. Those winds will cause the vertical wind shear to increase on Thursday. Hurricane Lee will move over cooler water later on Thursday. The combination of more vertical wind shear and cooler water will cause Hurricane Lee to weaken gradually during the next 24 hours.
Hurricane Lee will move around the western part of a subtropical high pressure system over the Atlantic Ocean. The high pressure system will steer Lee toward the north during the next 24 hours. On its anticipated track, the center of Hurricane Lee will pass west of Bermuda on Thursday evening. Bands in the eastern side of Lee’s circulation will bring gusty winds and locally heavy rain to Bermuda on Thursday.
Hurricane Lee could be east of Cape Cod by Saturday morning. Lee will affect Maine and Nova Scotia later on Saturday. Hurricane Lee could be in the middle of a transition to an extratropical cyclone on Saturday. Lee will bring strong, gusty winds and locally heavy rain to the coast of the Northeast U.S. and Nova Scotia. Heavy rain could cause flash floods in come locations. The winds blowing around the northern side of Hurricane Lee will push water toward the coast. A Storm Surge Watch has been issued for Cape Cod Bay and Nantucket, Massachusetts.
Elsewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, Hurricane Margot was spinning over the Central Atlantic. At 5:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday the center of Hurricane Margot was located at latitude 34.7°N and longitude 40.6°W which put it about 790 miles (1270 km) west-southwest of the Azores. Margot was moving toward the north at 7 m.p.h. (11 km/h). The maximum sustained wind speed was 90 m.p.h. (145 km/h) and there were wind gusts to 105 m.p.h. (165 km/h). The minimum surface pressure was 971 mb.