Category 4 Lee expected to remain away from Florida

Published: Sep. 8, 2023 at 5:31 AM EDT|Updated: 6 hours ago
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A powerful and dangerous Hurricane Lee weakened slightly on Friday to a Category 4 storm after reaching Category 5 strength just hours earlier.

WPTV First Alert Weather meteorologist Jennifer Correa said the forecast track remains consistent and has Lee making a sharp turn to the north next week, staying east of the Bahamas and Florida.

According to the 11 a.m. advisory from the National Hurricane Center, Lee has maximum sustained winds of 155 miles per hour and is located in the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean, roughly 565 miles east of the northern Leeward Islands, moving west-northwest at 13 miles per hour.

Hurricane Lee, 11 a.m. on Sept. 8, 2023.
Hurricane Lee, 11 a.m. on Sept. 8, 2023.

TRACKING THE TROPICS: Hurricane Center | Hurricane Guide

"The approach itself is getting closer and closer to the Caribbean. But, Lee will remain to the north of the Caribbean, not making a direct impact," Correa said.

Correa added that dangerous surf, large swells, and strong rip currents will impact the northern Leeward Islands Friday through the weekend and will spread to Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, and the Turks and Caicos.

Indirect impacts will be felt in the Bahamas, Bermuda, and along the U.S. eastern seaboard later this weekend through next week.

A sharp turn to the north is expected later Tuesday or early Wednesday of next week, Correa said.

"Look at all these models, in agreement that Lee will turn northward, staying east of the Bahamas," Correa said.

Elsewhere in the tropics, Tropical Storm Margot in the eastern Atlantic will strengthen into a hurricane over the weekend, but won't be a threat to land as it turns northward over the ocean.

Tropical Storm Margot, 11 a.m. on Sept. 8, 2023.
Tropical Storm Margot, 11 a.m. on Sept. 8, 2023.

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