Dangerous rip currents and high surf is predicted to develop Tuesday and the rest of the week as Hurricane Lee heads north and ultimately passes by the East Coast, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warned.
Beach flooding and erosion potential will increase through the week, the agency said, and the weather is expected to become increasingly hazardous on the ocean waters in the middle to the end of the week, and possibly for "all waters" on Friday and Saturday.
Still, it's too early to determine the true impact, if any, of the storm to the region, the agency said.
The seven-day forecast for Long Island calls for sunshine and highs in the high 70s and low 80s this coming weekend. But Lee may prevent beachgoers from taking an ocean dip, according to the forecast.
The major hurricane, rated a Category 3 on Monday morning by the National Hurricane Center, is still racing through the Atlantic, impacting the Virgin Islands, Bermuda and other islands, and figures to ultimately track to the north, well east of Long Island.
As of 5 p.m. Monday, the storm was 600 miles south of Bermuda with winds of 115 mph. It was expected to weaken, but increase in size as it moves north, NOAA said.
"It's still pretty far off to see exactly how it tracks," weather service meteorologist Matt Wunsch said Monday. "But, we're going to be expecting high surf and dangerous rip currents."
Most models say Lee will still be packing winds in excess of 39 mph as it cruises the Atlantic well offshore of Montauk Friday and Saturday. As a Category 3 hurricane, Lee currently has winds up to 120 mph, the weather service said.
Wunsch said there are variables in play, but the chance Lee could veer westward closer to Long Island appears remote, at best.
Monday's drenching rains were expected to be followed by partial sunshine Tuesday with a high near 81 degrees but overnight Tuesday into Wednesday there is a 40% chance of showers and thunderstorms after 2 a.m.
Wednesday the chance or precipitation will shoot up to 80% after 8 a.m., but Thursday and Friday should be clear or mostly clear. High temperatures Wednesday, Thursday and Friday will be in the mid 70s, according to the weather service.
Long Island remained under a flood watch Monday night until midnight as storms and heavy rains pelted some parts of the region.
With Matthew Chayes