Hurricane Lee is likely forming in the Central Atlantic; the National Hurricane Center says there’s a near-100% chance of a tropical cyclone forming soon and that it’ll likely become a tropical storm and hurricane over the next several days.
Satellite imagery indicates that an area of low pressure has formed from the tropical wave centered about 700 miles west-southwest of the Cabo Verde Islands. According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), the low-level circulation has become better defined since yesterday, with increasing organization in the shower and thunderstorm activity. Based on their assessment of environment conditions now and in the forecast near-future, the NHC says conditions will be conducive for further development, and this system is expected to become a tropical depression or a tropical storm in a day or two. Additional strengthening is likely late this week while the system moves westward to west-northwestward at 15 to 20 mph over the central and western portions of the tropical Atlantic.
When it reaches tropical storm strength, it will earn the next name on the list of available names to use for the season, which is Lee. While there are two other suspect areas the National Hurricane Center is monitoring for tropical cyclone development, it is likely this potent system in the Atlantic will be the next to earn the next name on the list.
Computer forecast models are offering robust solutions for this storm’s future. There is good alignment from model to model and run to run that a powerful hurricane will develop over the next several days, with most guidance suggesting the system will become at least a category 3 or 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane wind scale. The path of the storm is in doubt though, with models showing a wide variety of possibilities, including significant landfall tracks into the Mid Atlantic and/or New England. It is too soon to know with certainty whether this storm will reach the U.S. East Coast, and if it does, where it would go. If it were to head to the U.S. East Coast, it is about 7-10 days away from reaching it.