🌀 Hurricane Lee's full impact on the New Hampshire and Maine Seacoast is yet to be determined

🌀 Surf will be rough on the immediate coastline, no matter the track

🌀 The storm's turn north is expected Wednesday


It's too early to determine the full effect of Hurricane Lee on the Seacoast, as its final track north is still up in the air.

The storm is a Category 3 hurricane with sustained winds of 120 mph moving to the northwest as of noon on Monday, according to the National Weather Service.

"At this point, the one thing we can say for certain is, just like we've had the past couple of weeks from tropical systems, we're definitely going to have rough surf conditions for the area beaches. And that will be towards the middle and latter parts of this week, through the weekend. And of course, those long period swells will have the elevated rip current risk," meteorologist Stephen Baron at the National Weather Service in Gray, Maine, told Seacoast Current.

Forecast cone for Hurricane Lee
Forecast cone for Hurricane Lee 9/11/23 (NHC)

Waiting for a turn northward

Baron said the key to determining the impact on northern New England is what happens when the storm makes that full turn to the north, which he expects to happen Wednesday. It also depends on how far west the storm tracks.

"The storm is going to slow down significantly before it makes that northward turn," Baron said. "So really, until that turn happens, there's not a lot that's going to be able to be determined."

Hampton Police Chief Michael McMahon, who is also the town's  Emergency Management Director, is closely watching the forecast. The turn will also give him a clearer picture of what to expect.

"I do expect regardless of where it ends up that it'll give us big surf, increased possibility of coastal flooding and an increase in rip currents which are problematic if people are intent on getting in the water. We've had a number of problems with that this year and I don't want to see additional problems in that area," McMahon told Seacoast Current.

There have been two drownings in Hampton during the summer months. Over 50 people were rescued from rip currents during the Labor Day weekend alone.

McMahon said that he will address the hurricane during a scheduled staff meeting with police, public works, and the town manager.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via X (Twitter) @DanAlexanderNH

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