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Hurricane Lee continues its significantly rapid intensification and now has maximum sustained winds of 166 mph with higher gusts, according to a 5:00 a.m. Miami time update from the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

Lee is now the strongest hurricane in the Atlantic since Hurricane Dorian in 2019.

“Based on the forecast track, Lee is expected to pass north of the Leeward Islands, Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico over the weekend and early next week,” the National Hurricane Center said.

Storms are expected to reach parts of the Lesser Antilles on Friday and the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, the Turks and Caicos Islands, the Bahamas and Bermuda over the weekend. “These surges are likely to cause dangerous waves and rip currents,” the National Hurricane Center said.

“It is too early to know what level of impacts, if any, Lee could have along the East Coast of the United States, Atlantic Canada or Bermuda next week, especially since the hurricane is expected to subside significantly over the southwestern Atlantic. In any case, “Hazardous surf and rip currents are expected along much of the US East Coast starting Sunday.”

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