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Hurricane Lee and New England: Latest Trends | September 11, 2023

Hurricane Lee will soon be taking a turn to the north and parallel the east coast. As of now, this turn to the north is looking to occur around mid-week. Exactly when this turn happens, as well as the timing of systems moving through the northeast this week, will determine what kind of impacts this storm will bring to New England.

On September 5, we published our first article about Hurricane Lee and noted that it was likely to remain offshore of the United States. This was due to the two main steering factors. The first is a ridge of high pressure of the Atlantic Ocean, the second is a trough over the northeastern United States that will bring continued unsettled weather to New England in the middle of this week.

Since the timing of Lee has slowed down, the trough that was forecast to be over the northeast to shield New England from Lee is now looking like it will move away by the time Lee arrives in the area. On top of this, another trough near the Great Lakes may help to not only keep Lee closer to New England, but could actually tug it a bit to the west. This would bring the storm close to Maine's Midcoast and Downeast areas as well as Cape Cod.

This trend was starting to be picked up by some models this morning. Looking at the spaghetti models, you can see some models are bending the storm back toward New England, some more than others. The exact timing of that trough and how strong it is will play a big role in how far Lee is pulled toward New England, if it's pulled toward New England at all.

GFS ensemble and Global + Models. You can see Lee's movement away from New England end and some models have the storm moving back toward New England. You can also see a pretty decent spread remains:

A New England landfall remains unlikely at this time. You can see a vast majority of models show Lee making landfall in Nova Scotia. This remains the most likely landfall point. Many models are showing a landfall on the western side of Nova Scotia, which does put Downeast Maine close to the center. We'll need to keep watching to see if today's trends toward New England continue. We'll need to keep tabs on the storm's position in relation to Downeast Maine and Cape Cod.

Just because the storm remains offshore of New England doesn't mean New England will be spared from impacts. No matter what at this point, New England will be seeing large swells and rip currents. Whether or not New England sees wind, rain and/or coastal flooding remains to be seen. Chances for rain and wind from Lee have increased for eastern Maine and Cape Cod since yesterday. Exactly how intense these impacts are remain to be seen.

Wave height forecast Saturday afternoon showing the Maine coast and outer Cape (and Nova Scotia) bearing the brunt of the waves:

Another thing to keep in mind is that when hurricanes weaken, their wind fields expand. So while the overall winds won't be as strong, they will be more spread out and potentially impact a wider area. This is important because, should the hurricane remain offshore of New England, the larger wind field could make it to coastal New England depending on how close the storm gets.

Lastly, the strength of Lee needs to be considered. Lee has restrengthened back into a major hurricane. Lee will weaken once again as it begins to move northward. Many models are showing Lee at category one strength as it passes near Cape Cod.

Whether or not it holds category one status when it impacts Atlantic Canada remains to be seen, it could weaken to tropical storm strength by then. The storm will also likely be transitioning to a post-tropical cyclone as it enters northeast waters. This means the storm will have both tropical and non-tropical characteristics.

To close, it needs to be emphasized that the timing of Lee's turn to the north will be crucial in determining the storm's impact on New England. The longer it takes for the storm to turn north, the higher the risk becomes for New England. We'll start to understand a lot more about this storm's path by mid-week.



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