2023 Gets Its First Category 5 Hurricane

Hurricane Lee strengthening, hits wind speeds of up to 160mph
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 8, 2023 12:43 AM CDT
Updated Sep 8, 2023 6:11 AM CDT
We Have This Season's First Category 5 Hurricane
This Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2023, satellite image provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Hurricane Lee, right, off in the central tropical Atlantic Ocean.   (NOAA via AP)

Hurricane Lee whirled through open waters toward the northeast Caribbean late Thursday, becoming the first Category 5 storm of the Atlantic season, the AP reports. Lee was not expected to make landfall although forecasters said tropical storm conditions are possible on some islands. Meteorologists said it was too early to provide details on potential rainfall and wind gusts. The Category 5 hurricane was located about 705 miles east of the northern Leeward Islands. It had winds of up to 160mph and was moving west-northwest at 14mph. The storm was expected to remain a major hurricane into next week. Lee is the 12th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30 and peaks in September. Tropical Storm Margot became the 13th named storm after forming on Thursday evening.

"Lee continues to strengthen at an exceptional rate," the National Hurricane Center said. President Biden on Thursday was given the hurricane's latest trajectory and details of preparations underway by the US Federal Emergency Management Agency, which deployed unidentified assets to Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, according to the White House. Life-threatening surf was expected to hit the Lesser Antilles on Friday and reach the British and US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, the Bahamas, and Bermuda this weekend, the center said. The center said dangerous surf and rip currents were forecast for most of the US East Coast starting Sunday. The National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration in August forecast between 14 to 21 named storms this season, with six to 11 of them expected to become hurricanes, and of those, two to five developing into major hurricanes.

(Read more hurricane stories.)

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