Hurricane Lee regains strength over open waters, has eyes on Canada’s East Coast


Meteorologists are keeping a close eye on Hurricane Lee as the fierce storm approaches Canada.

The Canadian Hurricane Centre issued a tropical cyclone information statement Monday afternoon, warning that Lee “could impact weather in Atlantic Canada this weekend as it moves northward from the tropics.”

Bob Robichaud, warning preparedness meteorologist with the Canadian Hurricane Centre, said as of 3 p.m. Monday, Lee was about 2,400 kilometres south of Halifax.

The storm is expected to enter the Canadian Hurricane Centre response zone Friday.

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It’s still unclear if the centre of the storm will hit the Maritime provinces – “but it’s certainly one of the options that are on the table,” Robichaud said.

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“What we’re pretty confident right now is that we will see some waves probably move out ahead of the storm and reach the Atlantic Coast of Nova Scotia – it will probably be late this week. But it’s still kind of early to start pinning down things like rainfall amounts and wind,” he said.

“We could be looking at a Category 1 storm as it approaches, or we might be looking at a strong tropical storm.”

Lee was a Category 3 hurricane as of Monday afternoon, though some fluctuation is expected over the next few days.

The storm maxed out at Category 5 Friday, then dropped down to Category 2 over the weekend before strengthening over open waters just northeast of the Caribbean Sunday night.

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Robichaud said the storm is churning up cooler waters from deeper levels of the ocean, bringing them to the surface, which could help weaken the storm.

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“Once we get into midweek – right about the same time – we expect the storm to make pretty much a 90-degree turn towards the north, and will start to accelerate again,” he said.

“Depending on where the storm is when it makes that turn … that’s going to have a huge determination in where the storm goes from that point on.”

The centre of the storm could also hit the New England area of the United States, or remain offshore.

If it does hit Nova Scotia, however, Robichaud said: “we’re not looking at anything that would cause the widespread damage and destruction that we saw last year with (post-tropical storm) Fiona.”

Atlantic hurricane season

The Associated Press reported Monday that the centre of Lee was growing in size, with hurricane-force winds extending outward up to 120 kilometres from the centre and tropical storm-force winds extending outward up to 280 kilometres.

Breaking waves of up to six metres were forecast for Puerto Rico and nearby islands starting early this week, with authorities warning people to stay out of the water. Coastal flooding also was expected for some areas along Puerto Rico’s north coast and the eastern portion of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, according to the National Weather Service in San Juan.

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Lee is the 12th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30 and peaked on Sunday.

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Tropical Storm Margot became the 13th named storm after forming Thursday evening, but it was far out in the Atlantic and posed no threat to land.

The National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration in August forecast between 14 and 21 named storms this season. Six to 11 of them are expected to become hurricanes, and of those, two to five might develop into major hurricanes.

– with files from The Associated Press

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


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