Hurricane Maria and Lee are expected to merge in the Atlantic before heading towards the United Kingdom this weekend. Earlier Wednesday, Maria moved past the coast of North Carolina as a Category 1 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, causing storm surge flooding and life-threatening rip tides and currents. Meanwhile, Lee has transformed from a Category 1 to a Category 3 storm in a 24-hour time span, with maximum sustained winds near 115 mph. Lee still spins in the Atlantic, while Maria moves dangerous close, flirting with collision.
Frank Saunders, chief meteorologist at the Met Office said, “Ex-Maria is likely to impact our weather towards the end of the weekend and into the beginning of next week. However, it is important to say that any weather impacts will be far from those experienced in the Caribbean.”
This potential superstorm has been given the name “Storm Brian”.
UK Superstorm Ex-Maria: Forecast, Map & Path
NOAA: Maria (Left), Lee (Right)
The latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center said: “Maria is forecast to accelerate east northeastward on Thursday through Friday. On the forecast track, Maria will move away from the coast of North Carolina through Thursday.”
Maria and Lee are expected to merge before hitting the UK on Sunday. However, by that time, they are no longer expected to be hurricane, but mere remnants of their former selves.
Met Office meteorologist Alex Deakin said: “By the time we get to the weekend they are becoming ex-storms. They are drifting away from the tropics, so they are losing their heat source and are no longer tropical systems. But they are still low pressure systems and they do still have energy and moisture.”
Unusually high levels of wind and rain are expected when the UK Superstorm makes landfall.
Meteorologist Alex Deakin added, “Either way it looks like there will be rain swinging across the UK and it could potentially get very windy, especially on Sunday night and into Monday.”