TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Hurricane Lee has rapidly strengthened into a Category 4 major storm on Thursday, and Tropical Depression 14 has become Tropical Storm Margot, the National Hurricane Center said in its 5 p.m. update.

Lee is about 780 miles east of the Northern Leeward Islands and moving west-northwest at 15 mph, according to the NHC.

Hurricane Lee has sustained winds of 130 mph, according to the NHC. Most models still show Lee making a turn to the north.

Margot is moving west-northwest at 17 mph and is expected to stay out to sea, according to the NHC. It’s expected to become a hurricane over the weekend.

Swells from Hurricane Lee are expected to impact the Northern Caribbean on Friday and the mainland U.S. by Sunday, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.


Lee is the 12th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30 and peaks in September.

The National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration in August forecasted between 14 to 21 named storms this season, with six to 11 of them expected to become hurricanes, and of those, two to five possibly developing into major hurricanes.

In the Pacific, Hurricane Jova churned through open waters far from Mexico’s southwest coast as a Category 4 storm. It posed no threat to land.

It was located about 550 miles southwest of the southern tip of Baja, California, and was moving west-northwest at 16 mph with winds up to 155 mph. The storm is expected to weaken starting late Thursday.

Tropical Depression 14, now Tropical Storm Margot, formed Thursday over the eastern Atlantic.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.