3PM Thursday Sep 7th Hurricane Lee Update: I've been monitoring Lee all week, and there is a significant amount of interest regarding this storm. Lee is officially a Cat 2 Hurricane with winds of 105MPH and is undergoing rapid intensification. I imagine that with the next update at 5PM, the system will be close to Cat 3 status! The National Hurricane Center is now forecasting it to become a Cat 5 Hurricane; it'd be the 7th Cat 5 Hurricane since 2016. The National Hurricane forecast track over the next 5 days shows the system tracking north of the Caribbean Islands, thankfully. No one wants to experience this system. Beyond 5 days, models suggest a turn to the north and east will occur; exactly where and when that happens is up in the air.
The latest model trends still pass the system safely east of North Carolina late next week, which is beyond 5 days, so we should not take that with full confidence. It would be premature for me to say absolutely 0% North Carolina gets hit; we've all seen stuff trend the wrong way, especially beyond 5 days. I like the odds right now. I am not worried, but I am keeping a watchful eye on it. There is no reason to panic; regardless, we can expect large swells and High Rip Currents along the coast next week.
The Bottom Line is that the system should turn to the northeast and pass east of North Carolina based on the latest models, but we will watch until there is full confidence. There is a reason the National Hurricane Center only forecasts a cone 5 days because the confidence beyond that is too high to know for certain. I'll keep you updated!