Stormchaser video taken inside the eye of the monstrous Hurricane Lee shows the powerful storm as it generated flashes of lighting and whipped up winds of 165 mph earlier this week.
The Air Force Reserve 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron — aka the “Hurricane Hunters” — flew out of St. Croix, US Virgin Islands, Thursday right into the eye of the beast as it was rapidly intensifying from a Category 1 to Category 5 hurricane.
It had dropped back down to a Category 3 storm by early Saturday but is expected to regain strength over the weekend.
But with millions on the East Coast watching the massive storm creep northwest, forecasters said it was too early to tell if or where Lee would make landfall.
“It will eventually begin to re-strengthen into probably a Category 4 storm based on the Hurricane Center’s current forecast,” Fox Weather meteorologist Christopher Tate told The Post.
But there is some good news, Tate said. “That return to Category 4 strength will be relatively short-lived because as it begins its turn north, it’s going to begin to weaken as it encounters cooler waters.”
The storm was in the Caribbean early Saturday, making its way north and west at about 12 miles per hour.
It is expected to begin affecting Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, Turks and Caicos, the Bahamas, and Bermuda on Sunday, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The huge, volatile storm is plowing through the Atlantic and is expected to create rough surf in the New York/New Jersey area for at least the next week.
One reason it’s hard to predict when or if it will hit the coast is that it is expected to slow down as it hits colder water.
Many questions on the storm’s path remain unanswered as well, though right now it’s not expected to make landfall in the U.S.
Tate said, “One thing we are sure of, anytime you have a hurricane of this strength, you’re going to see strong rip currents, higher waves, beach erosion — probably pretty much anywhere on the East Coast, especially north of about Charleston, South Carolina clear up all the way to the Canadian Maritimes.”
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