As Hurricane Lee batters coastal areas with storm surges, massive waves, and fatal riptides, it is anticipated to make landfall Saturday near the U.S.-Canada border. However, its affects are being felt from Florida to Maine.
John Cangialosi, a hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center in Miami, warned that hurricanes come with a package of risks, and this one is no different.
Lee, a Category 5 storm at one time, is gaining power as it advances north at 14 mph. It had Category 1 storm status as of Thursday with gusts of more than 85 mph.
According to the National Weather Service, this weekend’s storm is predicted to bring between 1 and 4 inches of rain to sections of New England, cause localized inland flooding, and bring 20 to 30 foot waves to the Maritime Provinces of Canada.
With 2 to 4 feet of storm surge predicted for Cape Cod and Nantucket, Massachusetts, Lee’s winds are anticipated to send a surge of saltwater inland along the New England coast. Forecasters predict that Boston Harbor will experience a surge of one to three feet. Flooding of between one and three feet is anticipated throughout the entire Long Island coast.
Although forecasts warn that lethal rip currents are anticipated from Florida to New England, Hurricane Lee will have its greatest impact in the Northeast of the United States. Even though the weather may seem calm and beautiful this weekend, beachgoers are being advised to remain clear of the water.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, hurricane Lorenzo’s choppy surf conditions claimed the lives of eight Americans in 2019.
In separate events during that storm, two fishermen perished while slipping into choppy surf in Rhode Island and North Carolina, while two teens perished at Rockaway Beach, New York, after being carried away by rip currents. Lorenzo was hundreds of miles away in the eastern Atlantic, closer to Europe than the mainland US, when these deaths took place.
Because Lee is approaching the United States so closely, severe surf conditions may worsen, said to Ryan Truchelut, a freelance meteorologist in Tallahassee, Florida.
Lee is producing large offshore and coastal waves in addition to storm surges and rip currents. Wave heights are inversely proportional to the storm’s wind speed and fetch, or the distance the wind travels across the ocean’s surface.
As a result of the region’s longest fetch toward the coast, some parts of Atlantic Canada, including Nova Scotia, may witness seas of 20 to 30 feet, while coastal New England is predicted to suffer seas of 10 to 20 feet, according to Truchelut.
Everyone on the East Coast should prepare for extremely hazardous weather throughout the weekend, he said.
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