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Hurricane Lee expected to steadily strengthen this week

Hurricane Lee will remain a major hurricane this week, steadily strengthening over the next day or two and causing hazardous surf and rip current conditions across the western Atlantic.

Hurricane Lee was located about 340 miles north of the northern Leeward Islands, with maximum sustained winds of 120 miles per hour, according to a 5 a.m. ET update from the National Hurricane Center.

The hurricane is moving northwest at 7 miles per hour. There were no coastal watches or warnings in effect.

Lee is expected to reach Category 4 strength once again in the next day or two. It will turn to the north midweek and weaken as it passes in between Bermuda and the East Coast by the end of the week.

It is not expected to make direct landfall in the U.S., but the East Coast from central Florida to Maine will see rough surf and life-threatening rip currents starting Monday and the threat will expand to the northeast and Canadian coasts by midweek.

Models are favoring Lee to pass to the east of New England and run into Nova Scotia, but there is still uncertainty, especially with the storm widening in size as it accelerates north. Parts of New England should experience some rain and gusty wind as Lee passes by the end of the weekend.

Hurricane Lee gradually intensified over the course of last week, going from a tropical depression to a tropical storm on Tuesday and then upgrading to a Category 1 hurricane on Wednesday.

After strengthening to a major Category 5 storm on Thursday night — a rapid intensification that stunned forecasters — it weakened to a Category 3 hurricane Friday night.

The 2023 Atlantic hurricane season is running above average compared to prior years, with 14 named storms, four hurricanes and three major hurricanes so far.

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