Map: Track Tropical Storm Lee’s path
Lee was spotted by a tropical storm in the North Atlantic Ocean Wednesday morning ET, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The tropical storm had winds of 70 miles per hour. Lee is expected to grow into a major typhoon by the end of the week. Follow our coverage here.
Tropical storm winds, which have sustained winds of at least 39 mph, usually arrive when weather conditions begin to deteriorate, and experts say the estimated time of arrival is a good deadline for completing storm preparations and evacuating if called upon.
Arrival times and probability of adverse winds
Lee is the twelfth storm to form in the Atlantic Ocean in 2023.
In late May, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted that there would be 12 to 17 named storms this year, which is a “near-normal” amount. On August 10, NOAA officials revised their estimate upwards, to 14 to 21 storms.
There were 14 named storms last year, after two so busy seasons of hurricanes in the Atlantic that forecasters ran out of names and had to resort to backup lists. (30 named storms formed in 2020.)
This year is marked by an El Niño pattern that arrived in June. An intermittent weather phenomenon can have widespread effects on weather around the world, and it usually hinders the formation of Atlantic hurricanes.
In the Atlantic Ocean, El Niño increases the amount of wind shear, or the change in wind speed and direction from the ocean or land surface into the atmosphere. Hurricanes need a calm environment to form, and the instability caused by increased wind shear makes these conditions less likely. (The El Niño phenomenon has the opposite effect in the Pacific, reducing the amount of wind shear.)
Meanwhile, rising sea surface temperatures this year pose a number of threats, including the potential to make storms stronger.