“In 24 hours, wind speeds double to 270 km/h”: Hurricane Lee quickly becomes one of the strongest hurricanes on record |  outside

“In 24 hours, wind speeds double to 270 km/h”: Hurricane Lee quickly becomes one of the strongest hurricanes on record | outside

Hurricane Lee is now officially a member of the select group of Category 5 hurricanes. The tropical cyclone did so at an unprecedented pace. Within just 24 hours, it turned into a major hurricane with wind speeds reaching more than 250 km/h. Lee is expected to strengthen further, with winds reaching 180 mph (290 km/h), making it one of the strongest hurricanes on record.

It quickly became a Category 5 hurricane

On September 5, the National Hurricane Center named a tropical storm in the Atlantic Ocean “Lee.” This officially makes it the twelfth storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June to November. On September 6, the tropical cyclone gained enough strength to be named a hurricane. Lee then quickly condensed into the warm ocean water. In just one day, the hurricane developed into a Category 5 hurricane, the highest category on the Saffir-Simpson scale. This makes it one of the fastest hurricanes in history.

The Saffir-Simpson Scale classifies tropical cyclones into five categories based on maximum wind speeds, storm surge heights, and damage potential. Category 1 hurricanes have wind speeds of 119 to 153 km/h, while Category 5 hurricanes have wind speeds of 252 km/h or higher. Less than 1% of all tropical cyclones reach Category 5. The last Category 5 hurricane was Ian in 2022.

Hurricane Lee currently has wind speeds of 170 mph. Further strengthening seems likely because Lee is in an environment with low shear and very warm water of around 30°C. The hurricane is expected to increase in strength and wind speeds will reach 290 km/h (or more).

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Therefore, the tropical cyclone may have a chance to claim the title of the strongest hurricane ever in the Atlantic Ocean. One usually looks at wind speed or central pressure (the lower the pressure, the stronger the hurricane). In terms of wind speed, Hurricane Allen has been at a speed of 310 km/h since 1980. If we look at the central pressure, Hurricane Wilma from 2005 holds the lead with 882 mbar (Wilma reached “only” 298 km/h in terms of wind speed). Currently it is 926 mbar for me. It remains to be seen exactly where Hurricane Lee will end up. It is certain that the hurricane will remain a Category 4 or 5 hurricane during the next five days.

look. Lightning was photographed in the eye of Hurricane Lee

Did you know this? So far in 2023, 22 major tropical cyclones have formed in various oceans, including seven Category 5. With the arrival of Hurricane Lee, each individual tropical cyclone basin has now produced one Category 5 hurricane this year. This is the first time this has ever happened.

What will be the impact of Hurricane Lee?

Currently, Lee is the farthest southeastern hurricane ever observed as a Category 5 hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean since records began 172 years ago. A steady west-northwest track is expected north of the Northern Leeward Islands, Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico through Wednesday. Lee won’t make landfall (for now), but waves, rain and winds from the storm could certainly impact surrounding areas.

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Computer models indicate that Lee will likely head north next week. It is especially important when this will happen because this determines how close a dangerous hurricane will come to the US coast. The speed of Lee’s deflection depends on how quickly the high pressure area north of the hurricane weakens. If the high pressure area persists, the hurricane could approach the East Coast of the United States.

Climate change increases the strength of hurricanes

Are Category 5 hurricanes becoming more common due to climate change?

In the 1970s and 1980s, major hurricanes (Category 3 or higher) averaged about 30 to 33% of all Atlantic hurricanes. This rose to an average of 40 to 50% per year in the 2000s. This means that there were on average 1.6 major hurricanes per year in the 1970s and 1980s, and that this has increased to 3 today to 4 per year.

Climate change has been suggested as a cause of stronger hurricanes. The impact of climate change on the frequency of tropical storms is still unclear, but rising sea surface temperatures warm the air above and provide more energy to power hurricanes.

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