Tropical Storm Lee intensified into a hurricane as it moved west-northwest in the Atlantic Wednesday, and it is expected to become a major hurricane in the next day or two, the National Hurricane Center said in its 5 p.m. update.
Lee does not pose an immediate threat to Florida, and most forecast models show the storm curling away from the state.
Lee was about 1,130 miles east of the northern Leeward Islands as of 5 p.m., forecasters said. The hurricane had maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, as it moved west-northwest at nearly 14 mph.
Although the forecast shows Lee passing to the north of the Leeward Islands (a string of islands between the Caribbean Sea and the western Atlantic), forecasters said details of the track three to four days out are still uncertain. The storm could bring impacts to the Leeward Islands this weekend, forecasters said.
The hurricane center says Lee is “likely to intensify into an extremely dangerous major hurricane by early Saturday.”
Lee is the fourth hurricane of the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season.
Elsewhere in the tropics, forecasters are watching a wave over the far eastern Atlantic. The system could become a tropical depression later this week or this weekend while the system moves west-northwest at 10 to 15 mph. It has a 60% chance of developing in the next week, the hurricane center said.
In the northeastern Atlantic, the remnants of Hurricane Franklin could re-organize in the next day or two, before falling apart later this week. Forecasters say it has a 30% chance of development in the next seven days.
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