Tropical Storm Lee Forecast To Strengthen Into Hurricane As It Churns Toward Caribbean

(AP) — Tropical Storm Lee churned through the open waters of the Atlantic on Wednesday and was expected to soon become a hurricane as it approached the Caribbean.

The storm was located about 1,265 miles (2,040 kilometres) east-southeast of the northern Leeward Islands.

It had maximum sustained winds of 65 mph (100 kph) and was moving west-northwest at 14 mph (22 kph), according to the National Hurricane Center.

It was not forecast to make landfall, but it is projected to pass just northeast of the British Virgin Islands, which is still recovering from hurricanes Maria and Irma that hit in September 2017.

Lee is expected to become a hurricane later Wednesday and develop into a major hurricane in a couple of days.

“Lee continues to strengthen at a quick pace,” the center said, noting the storm is moving over very warm waters and a moist environment.

Lee is the 12th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30.

The National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration warned in August that this year’s hurricane season would be above normal. Between 14 to 21 named storms are forecast.

Of those, six to 11 could become hurricanes, with two to five of them possibly becoming major hurricanes.