As Hurricane Lee Strengthens, Travel Could Be Affected

All eyes in the Atlantic are currently on Hurricane Lee, which has strengthened to a category 4 storm and could reach a category 5 as early as Friday. Hurricane Lee is the 13th named storm of the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season and the 4th hurricane. It is projected to reach its peak intensity over the weekend and will pose a threat to the Southwest Atlantic during the early portion of next week. 

Hurricane Lee strengthened rapidly throughout the day on Thursday, intensifying from a category one, early the same morning. Though the storm is currently forecasted to make a turn, potentially missing the Southern United States, it could affect parts of the Caribbean, as it intensifies. Marine warnings are in effect throughout the Caribbean Sea and travel may be impacted during shoulder season. 

How close the storm will get to reaching land may not be determined until late in the weekend. Computer models show Lee moving to a west-northwestern track, keeping it away from the US, but possibly moving it closer to Bermuda. If Lee makes a slower turn to the North, the Eastern US could be vulnerable to intense wind and rain, particularly areas north of the Carolinas. 

It’s still too early to tell just how the hurricane will affect the Northern Caribbean, but travelers are encouraged to watch Lee closely and to be prepared for possible delays and changes to travel arrangements. 

Depending on the trajectory, the Bahamas, Bermuda, Hispaniola, and the East Coast could experience dangerous rip currents and high surf. The British and US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico will likely stay safe from the more damaging effects of Hurricane Lee, but could experience rain and some high winds. Though the recent models are promising, this storm has the potential to be extremely dangerous and disruptive, so care should be taken when traveling to the Caribbean and Southeastern US.