HORSEHEADS, N.Y. (WENY)-- Hurricane Lee continues to make its way through the Atlantic with winds over 100 miles per hour. The once former Category 5 hurricane is a Category 2, with winds of 100 miles per hour, as of Wednesday afternoon. 

Currently, hurricane force winds extend 125 miles from the center and tropical storm force winds about 500 miles from the center, making it a very large hurricane. Dr. Jeff Masters, a co-founder of Weather Underground, noted that Lee is the fifth largest Atlantic hurricane of the past 20 years.

As Lee charges north, cooler ocean temperatures will gradually weaken the system to a minimum hurricane with winds near 75 miles per hour. However, as Lee weakens, the already large hurricane will continue to expand in size.  

An expansion of the wind field will increase the storm impacts for New England and Atlantic Canada. These large storms whip up more water and cause storm surge to be widespread and intense. Additionally, the large size will make tropical storm conditions inevitable for these regions. 

The large wind field is generating dangerous swells that will likely impact beaches along the East Coast, Atlantic Canada and parts of the Caribbean. The National Hurricane Center warned about the increased risk for rip current this week in these areas.

As of Wednesday afternoon, parts of Eastern Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Maine were placed under a tropical storm watch. A portion of Maine was also placed under a hurricane watch.

In their morning advisory, the National Hurricane Center warned of an increasing risk of wind, coastal flooding and rain for portions of New England and Atlantic Canada. 2008 was the last time Maine was placed under a hurricane watch. 

Lee became a rare Category 5 hurricane last Thursday, peaking with winds near 165 miles per hour. Record warm temperatures across the Atlantic helped fuel the storm to such strength.