Stunning images have revealed the thunderous eye of Hurricane Lee as it heads toward the east coast, threatening to leave a trail of chaos in its wake after downgrading from a Category 1 to a Category 1 hurricane 5 during the night.
The Air Force’s “Hurricane Hunters,” a weather reconnaissance squadron, showed incessant lightning illuminating the tornado in a breathtaking manner. social media post Friday.
Hurricane Lee has been swirling over the Atlantic Ocean for several days as it gains strength, but forecasters have struggled to pinpoint its path and it is not expected to make landfall until later this week next.
As the East Coast braced for impact, the cities of New York and Boston got a taste of the potential damage as the hurricane’s currents whipped up severe storms Friday evening.
The eye of Hurricane Lee was seen in breathtaking images captured by the Air Force’s “Hurricane Hunters,” a weather reconnaissance squadron.
Incessant lightning illuminated the tornado, which was moving up the Atlantic Ocean and was about 440 miles from the East Coast Friday evening.
Hurricane Lee was recorded as a Category 1 hurricane on Wednesday after forming near the Leeward Islands in the Caribbean.
Forecasters were quick to warn it had devastating potential, and shocking satellite projections on Thursday showed it gaining speed and power as it reached more than 160 mph.
Earlier in the day, the tornado recorded speeds of around 80 mph. After the storm tracked over the Atlantic, waves reached more than 55 feet near the center, the National Hurricane Center found.
One reason for the escalation is the unusually warm water temperatures of the Atlantic Ocean, which recorded nearly 86 degrees Fahrenheit as it passed, which meteorologists say is more akin to temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico. than those of the Atlantic.
As of Friday evening, Lee remained far from the U.S. coast and was about 440 miles east of the Leeward Islands, moving northwest at a speed of 13 mph, according to the New York Times.
As it spirals far southeast of its potential landfall, meteorologist and hurricane expert Michael Lowry warned that it has properties that could cause significant damage.
He said the (formerly Twitter) that “Lee is the southeasternmost hurricane we have ever observed as a Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic since records began 172 years ago.”
Hurricane Lee strengthened from a Category 1 hurricane to a Category 5 hurricane overnight Thursday, raising fears it could rip up the East Coast.
Although its mere proximity to any land mass has mitigated any destruction so far, the U.S. East Coast could begin to experience dangerous surf conditions as early as Sunday, according to the National Hurricane Center.
“Some fluctuations in intensity are likely over the next few days, but Lee is expected to remain a major and powerful hurricane through early next week,” the NHC said Friday.
Meteorologists apparently went back and forth about whether the hurricane would make landfall on the East Coast or whether it might turn around. On Wednesday, the NHC warned: “Most intensity models are very aggressive, bringing Lee to major hurricane status by the weekend. »
During a forecast discussion Friday, the center reversed course on that prediction, admitting that “it is far too early to know what level of impacts, if any, Lee might have along the coast is from the United States, Atlantic Canada or Bermuda late next year.” week’.
The forecaster added that this could happen as “the hurricane is expected to slow significantly over the southwest Atlantic.”
Spaghetti models of Hurricane Lee’s path – maps that show computer simulations of where the center of the storm could be several days from now, given a set of variables – show Lee turning toward the northeast and heading towards the east coast.
However, equally comforting models have proven tragically wrong in the past. In 2017, meteorologists predicted that Hurricane Irma would turn toward the ocean, before hitting Florida’s Gulf Coast and killing at least 92 people.
Forecasters have struggled to determine the exact path and strength of Hurricane Lee, leading to varying estimates of the extent of damage it could cause.
The National Hurricane Center said Friday that the storm was “incredibly powerful” and had intensified well beyond the strength it initially appeared to contain.
While some areas in the storm’s potential path showed no signs of wet and wild weather – with Washington DC enjoying scorching weather Friday evening – currents from the hurricane were cited for fueling the storms that hit this weekend.
More than 200 flights have been canceled from JFK, Newark and LaGuardia airports, according to Aware of theftFriday as storms rolled in.
As storms hit, residents took to social media to share images of looming clouds filling New York’s skies, a sign of what was to come.
Reports indicate that trees and power lines were downed in New Jersey, and a severe thunderstorm watch was issued for almost the entire tri-state area until 11 p.m. Friday.
Flash flood warnings were also issued for large swaths of the Hudson Valley following a period of dry and hot conditions.
Much of Massachusetts also remains under a severe thunderstorm watch, covering Middlesex, Essex, Franklin, Hampden and Hampshire counties.
In Hoopsick Falls, New York, the town’s mayor urged residents to stay home as a powerful storm pummeled the community of 3,000 on Thursday.
Fallen trees and power lines were also reported in the area, as crews worked throughout the day to clear roads after they were blocked by debris.
Storm damage was also seen in Boxborough, Massachusetts, about 40 miles from Boston, where several power lines and tree limbs were torn down by the high winds.
Storm damage was also seen in Boxborough, Massachusetts, where several tree branches were torn off by the high winds.
Crews worked throughout Friday to clear roads after the storm surge, which also took down power lines.
Another image of the chaos caused by Friday’s extreme weather in Massachusetts