Now a post-tropical storm, Lee continued to produce hurricane-strength winds early Saturday morning, bringing rain to southeastern New England and parts of Atlantic Canada, the National Hurricane Center said.
Lee, a Category 1 hurricane prior to Saturday, is still expected to affect the region despite the status change.
“Lee is expected to be at or below hurricane strength when it reaches Nova Scotia later today. “Lee is forecast to weaken tonight and Sunday as it moves across Atlantic Canada,” the National Hurricane Center said in a 5 a.m. advisory Saturday, adding that the storm had lost enough tropical characteristics to be considered a hurricane.
Some of the most significant impacts in the U.S. include coastal flooding and the potential for tropical-storm-force winds, with a state emergency declared in coastal New England, particularly in Maine. A hurricane watch is in effect for the southern coast of the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
As of 5 a.m. Saturday, Lee was about 220 miles south-southeast of Eastport, Maine, with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph, the hurricane center said. Lee was 230 miles (365 kilometers) south-southwest of Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Lee is not expected to land in the United States.
Although hundreds of miles off the U.S. East Coast, tropical storm conditions were battering the coasts of Massachusetts and Nova Scotia early Saturday morning, with similar impacts to Maine, hurricane center forecasters said.
“These conditions will lead to downed trees and possible power outages,” the hurricane center warned.
Hurricane-force winds could be felt up to 140 miles from Lee’s center, while tropical-storm-force winds extended up to 390 miles.
Wind gusts of 43 mph and 59 mph were measured recently in Tennis, Massachusetts, according to the Hurricane Center.
In addition to strong winds, Lee could unleash up to 6 inches of rain in northern Maine on Saturday, with neighboring New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Rhode Island at risk of seeing even more rainfall. Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey declared a state of emergency Friday because of the storm.
Tropical storm warnings are in effect for Massachusetts’ coasts north through Maine, including the popular island destinations of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket off the Massachusetts coast. The warning also extends further north into Canada.
Along the coast from Long Island Sound north to Maine, if Lee’s storm surge combines with a high tide, flooding from 1 to 3 feet above ground level could occur, says Michael Brennan, director of the National Hurricane Center.
Canadian and US coastal residents have been urged to stay indoors
Jamie Rome, deputy director of the National Hurricane Center, warned people to avoid driving near the coast and urged people to stay home to ride out the storm. He also noted the high risk of rip currents stretching thousands of miles from southern Florida north to Maine.
“The waves from this big hurricane create a current that goes out to sea and pulls you out,” Rome said Friday evening. Short video Upgrade. “So if you’re going to the beach this weekend, swim near a lifeguard.”
In anticipation of those dangerous waves, local officials in Toms River, New Jersey, have imposed a swimming ban at Ardley Beach this weekend, according to a news release from the township. Violators may be ticketed.
“Lifeguards will be on duty from 9:00am to 5:00pm on Saturdays and Sundays to enforce the Red Flag Swimming Prohibition. The beach remains open,” officials said in a news release Friday.
Meanwhile, in Canada, officials in New Brunswick warned people to prepare for power outages and stockpile food and medicine for at least 72 hours.
“Remember, once a storm starts, stay home if possible,” said Kyle Leavitt, director of the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization. “Nothing good comes of checking the big waves and checking how strong the wind really is. You’re not only putting yourself at risk, you’re also putting the lives of the emergency services personnel who need to help you at risk.