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Hurricane Lee--Glorified Nor'Easter or Legit Tropical? Near Miss or Direct Hit?


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With guidance coalescing around the closest approach of Lee occurring in 5-6 days, it's time for a breakout thread. 

This all started with an extraordinarily strong signal for a long track major hurricane that produced, leading to the development of a CV system that attained category five intensity briefly before shear and internal processes (ERCs) weakened the system. Lee regained major hurricane status, but has likely peaked. 

We've been tracking this one seemingly forever, and it is now starting to slow its forward speed as it rounds the periphery of a ridge and gets drawn northward due to an incoming trough. 




Normally, a turn northward at this longitude would almost certainly have meant a recurve out to sea, but guidance has gradually trended toward a scenario where the original trough above lifts out quickly, allowing for an Atlantic ridge to build back in and effectively block a clear path out to sea. 




As that happens, another trough swings in from the Midwest, drawing it further north or potentially on a NW/NNW heading rather than kicking it OTS. Recent operational runs, which are further west than their ensembles, have brought a close approach to the Cape and potential landfall, if not already transitioned to an extratropical system, into Maine or Nova Scotia. 





Because Lee is expected to increase its wind field as it turns northward, and as it begins to undergo extratropical transition, even a close approach can be impactful, particularly for the Cape and eastern New England. 

There remains uncertainty on the exact track and the intensity of Lee when in closest proximity.


For those following, I have been putting out odds for a while now on Lee's future track. This morning I'm at the following: 

  • 50% LF risk Atlantic Canada (Nova Scotia): It’s becoming increasingly likely that the second trough pulls this on an extended northward heading and Lee will not be able to fully escape, even if there is a last minute east trend.
  • 35% New England (5% SNE/30% ENE): ENE remains much more favored because the ensembles even as they tick west have not meaningfully put SNE at landfall risk. A scrape of the Cape or hit in Maine would be most likely currently IMO.  
  • 15% OTS: Respect still needs to be given to sharper than anticipated eastward shifts, but this looks increasingly unlikely. 

Regardless of what Lee does, we already know how this thread will flow. Team Meh and Team Hit shall battle. 

Let the crescendo of the roller coaster ride begin. 

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2 minutes ago, NoCORH4L said:

How important is the 70W requirement still? 

It’s not going to happen so I don’t think it matters as much now. The earlier turn is kind of baked into the models. 

Like @ORH_wxman said the other day, get this 100-150 miles west and it’s a lot more impactful/interesting. Not sure if that happens, though. 

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