The storm threatened to make landfall Saturday with hurricane-force winds, dangerous surf and torrential rain.
Storm Lee, which was downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone, began hitting the northeastern United States and the Canadian border, bringing heavy rains and knocking out power to tens of thousands of people.
Severe conditions were forecast in parts of Massachusetts and Maine in the United States, and hurricane conditions could hit the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, where the weakened storm is expected to make landfall later in the day.
Winds gusting to 130 km/h (81 mph), coastal flooding and heavy rain were already occurring in parts of the New England region of the United States and Atlantic Canada, the National Center said Saturday Hurricane Center (NHC) in its latest advisory.
Earlier, the Canadian Hurricane Center predicted Lee would make landfall in Nova Scotia shortly after 3 p.m. ADT (6 p.m. GMT) or later in New Brunswick with winds below hurricane force.
Parts of the Maine coast could see waves up to 15 feet high crash, causing erosion and damage, and the strong gusts will cause power outages, said National Weather meteorologist Louise Fode Service. Up to 5 inches (120 mm) of rain was forecast in eastern Maine, where a flash flood watch was in effect.
“The worst of this storm will be reserved for the Maritime provinces of Canada as it makes landfall on Saturday – primarily a wind event for Nova Scotia and a combination of wind and rain for New Brunswick,” said Jeff Harrington, Al Jazeera meteorologist.
“So based on the numbers, parts of New Brunswick will receive 100 mm of rain and winds in Halifax will gust to around 100 km/h (62 mph), which will definitely cause some damage,” he said. he declared.
Utilities reported tens of thousands of customers without power, from Maine to Nova Scotia.
In anticipation of the storm, U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration issued an emergency declaration for Maine, providing federal aid to the state ahead of the storm.
“We encourage everyone in the path of this significant and dangerous storm to remain vigilant,” White’s press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, said at a press briefing.
Lee has raged as a major hurricane across the Atlantic for more than a week, briefly threatening Bermuda but virtually harmless to anyone on land. This is the second year in a row that such a powerful storm has hit Canada after Hurricane Fiona devastated eastern Canada a year ago.
Lee hit the U.S. Virgin Islands, Bahamas and Bermuda before heading north, and strong swells were likely to cause “life-threatening wave and rip current conditions” in the United States and Canada, according to the hurricane center.
Destructive hurricanes are relatively rare this far north. The Great New England Hurricane of 1938 brought gusts up to 300 km/h (186 mph) and sustained winds of 195 km/h (121 mph) to Massachusetts’ Blue Hill Observatory. But no such powerful storms have occurred in recent years.
The region learned the hard way, with Hurricane Irene in 2011, that damage is not always limited to the coast. Downgraded to a tropical storm, Irene still caused more than $800 million in damage in Vermont.