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  • 1440 Daily Digest

Lee Moves Toward the Caribbean

Tropical Storm Lee became the fourth hurricane of the year yesterday, strengthening into a Category 4 storm as it moved across the open Atlantic Ocean near the northeast Caribbean. Forecasts suggest it may continue to intensify, likely reaching Category 5 status today, with winds above 160 mph. Whether (or where) the system will make landfall remains unclear. Lee's current trajectory (see here) has it passing north of the Lesser Antilles and Puerto Rico, though the region is expected to see tropical storm-like conditions through the weekend. The system is currently tracking toward the southeastern US coast; however, most models predict the storm will turn and head northward. The timing of Lee's pivot northward will determine to what degree it impacts—or makes landfall—along the US East Coast or Canada sometime during the second half of next week. Only four storms have made landfall as Category 5 hurricanes in US history. Experts say record warm waters fueled a process known as rapid intensification, where maximum sustained wind speeds increase by 35 mph within a day.

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