SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Hurricane Lee ripped through open waters northeast of the Caribbean on Sunday, triggering heavy swells on several islands.
The Category 2 storm is not expected to make landfall and is expected to remain over open waters through Friday. As of Sunday morning, it was centered about 280 miles (450 kilometers) northeast of the Northern Leeward Islands. The maximum sustained wind had dropped to 105 miles per hour (165 km/h) and it was moving west-northwest at a speed of 9 miles per hour (15 km/h).
Last week, Lee stepped up from a Category 1 storm to a Category 5 storm in just one day.
“We had the perfect conditions for a hurricane: warm water and little wind shear,” said Lee Ingles, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in San Juan.
According to the National Hurricane Center, Lee is expected to regain some strength and then weaken again in the coming days.
Breaking waves of up to 6 meters were forecast for Puerto Rico and surrounding islands earlier this week, and authorities warned people to stay away from the water. Coastal flooding was also expected for some areas along the northern coast of Puerto Rico and the eastern part of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to the National Weather Service in San Juan.
The National Hurricane Center noted that dangerous surf and rip currents were expected to hit most of the U.S. East Coast starting Sunday, but the hurricane’s impacts beyond that were still unclear.
“It is far too early to know what extent, if any, impact Lee could have on the East Coast of the U.S., Atlantic Canada or Bermuda… especially as the hurricane is expected to strengthen significantly over the southwest Atlantic will weaken,” the center said.
Lee was expected to turn northward by Wednesday. However, the further path remained unclear.
Lee is the 12th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30 and peaked on Sunday.
Tropical Storm Margot became the 13th named storm after forming Thursday evening, but was well out in the Atlantic and posed no threat of landfall. It was located about 1,100 miles (1,770 kilometers) west-northwest of the Cape Verde Islands on Sunday. Winds had reached 50 mph (85 km/h) and were forecast to strengthen into a hurricane early next week. It was moving northwest at a speed of 8 miles per hour (13 km/h).
The National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration in August Between 14 and 21 named storms are forecast for this season. Six to eleven of them are expected to become hurricanes, and two to five of them could become major hurricanes.
In the Pacific, Jova weakened to a tropical storm as it swirled over open waters far from the southwest coast of Mexico and posed no threat to the country.
It was located about 1,080 miles (1,735 kilometers) west of the southern tip of Baja California on Sunday, moving northwest at a speed of 8 miles per hour (13 km/h) and with winds of up to 45 miles per hour (75 km/h). H).