Hurricane Lee is a powerful hurricane moving slowly through the Caribbean.
There is good agreement in the forecast model that Lee will continue its west-northwestward track over the next few days, primarily north of the Greater Antilles.
Beyond that, there is still a lot of uncertainty and many questions regarding the storm’s final path.
These are the five most important questions we will need answers in the coming days.
When will the storm turn north?
We are seeing good model agreement that the storm will turn north sometime in the middle of next week. However, there has been a small change in orientation recently, so the northward turn may occur a little sooner. This is important because even a slightly earlier change will affect the forecast in the future.
How fast will the storm move north?
Where we’re seeing some of the biggest disagreements between forecasts is in the storm’s forward speed after its northward turn. The image below shows the different modeling ideas for where the center of the storm could be on the morning of September 15.
This is important because the speed of the storm will determine how it will interact with a low pressure trough over eastern North America.
How will the low pressure trough affect the storm track?
Many of these questions are linked. How Lee interacts with the trough over the Great Lakes will be critical to the forecast. The depression in question will strengthen over North America early next week as it slowly moves toward the east coast.
Strength and location will be important factors and remain uncertain for the time being.
How will the high pressure ridge affect the storm track?
Perhaps most critical to the forecast is the strength and location of the high pressure ridge over Atlantic Canada and the northwestern Atlantic Ocean into next week.
A stronger high pressure ridge early and mid-next week will likely slow the storm, which will then have implications for how the storm interacts with the trough and its final track.
A stronger ridge later in the week could push the system further west toward North America or, depending on its position, allow the storm an offshore exit path.
How will Margot affect the high pressure ridge?
Finally we have Margot. The latest named storm, which may become a hurricane in the coming days, will move north across the mid-Atlantic Ocean over the next week.
So when will we know more?
Unfortunately, with so many factors to consider, we probably won’t know until early next week where Lee will be headed.
Something to keep in mind next week is that while we will all be focused on the central path of Lee, it is likely a large storm and its impacts may spread hundreds of kilometers from the center.
What we do know is that while Lee is currently a powerful major hurricane, the storm will begin to weaken as it moves north next week into waters that are below the 26.5C threshold that tropical cyclones require. to maintain his strength.
We will continue to monitor the storm over the next few days, so be sure to stay tuned for updates.