Tropical Storm Lee expected to rapidly intensify into ‘extremely dangerous’ hurricane by weekend

A new tropical storm has formed in the Atlantic Ocean and is expected to intensify into an “extremely dangerous” hurricane by the weekend.

Tropical Storm Lee was announced by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) at 5pm (eastern time) on Tuesday.

Its wind speeds picked up this afternoon and are now 45mph with higher gusts. Lee is forecast to become a hurricane within a couple of days and will likely become a major hurricane by Friday, NHC reported.

“The depression is forecast to become a major hurricane by this weekend and could bring impacts to the Leeward Islands by that time,” NHC reported.

Meteorologist Ryan Maue suggested on X, formerly Twitter, than Lee could become a “monstrous storm” in the Category 4 or 5 range and travel “safely north” of the Leeward Islands and Puerto Rico.

The Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from 1 June to 30 November, is forecast to be above average this year.

Ocean temperatures have hit historic highs this summer. Warming oceans fuel stronger tropical cyclones that bring more heavy rainfall and higher storm surge when they make landfall, according to Climate Central.

This is a breaking news article and is being updated