Enormous storm Lee lashes New England and Canada with wind, heavy rain, pounding surf

Exercise on the Scituate Boat Ramp previous to Hurricane Lee.

Stuart Cahill | Getty Photos

Storm Lee toppled bushes and reduce energy to tens of 1000’s Saturday because it lashed New England and jap Canada, threatening hurricane-force winds, harmful storm surge and torrential rains throughout an unlimited swath despite the fact that its heart had but to return ashore.

The storm, nonetheless harmful after being downgraded from hurricane to post-tropical cyclone, was anticipated to make landfall at or simply under hurricane power across the Maine-New Brunswick border Saturday afternoon, then flip to the northeast and transfer throughout Atlantic Canada on Saturday night time and Sunday.

The storm skirted among the most waterlogged areas of Massachusetts that skilled extreme flash flooding days earlier, when quick water washed out roads, prompted sinkholes, broken houses and flooded autos.

However the complete area has skilled an particularly moist summer season — it ranked second within the variety of wet days in Portland, Maine — and Lee’s excessive winds toppled bushes pressured by the rain-soaked floor in Maine, the nation’s most closely wooded state.

“We’ve an extended method to go, and we’re already seeing downed bushes and energy outages,” mentioned Todd Foisy, a Nationwide Climate Service meteorologist.

The storm’s heart was simply off the southwestern tip of Nova Scotia, about 105 miles (170 kilometers) southeast of Eastport, Maine, and about 150 miles (240 kilometers) southwest of Halifax, Nova Scotia, the U.S. Nationwide Hurricane Heart mentioned at 11 a.m. EDT Saturday. It had most sustained winds of 75 mph (120 kph) and was shifting north at a quick clip of about 22 mph (35 kph).

Its weakened state belies its attain — hurricane-force winds prolong so far as 140 miles (220 kilometers) from the middle, the Nationwide Hurricane Heart mentioned. Tropical-storm-force winds of not less than 39 mph (62 kph) prolong outward as much as 390 miles (630 kilometers) — sufficient to cowl all of Maine and far of Maritime Canada.

A harmful storm surge will produce coastal flooding in Atlantic Canada, accompanied by massive and harmful waves, forecasters mentioned.

The storm was so huge that it was inflicting energy outages a number of hundred miles from its heart. About 25% of Nova Scotia lacked energy round noon Saturday.

“At this level, the storm is resembling a nor’easter,” mentioned Sarah Thunberg, a Nationwide Climate Service meteorologist, referring to fall and winter storms that usually plague the area and are so named as a result of their winds blow from the northeast.

In typical tropical cyclones, Thunberg mentioned, winds are concentrated across the eye. However Lee, a really massive storm, has a wider wind area.

Federal support is headed to Massachusetts after President Joe Biden declared an emergency Saturday.

Keith Oliver works a ship journey elevate to take a ship out of the ocean on the Billings Diesel & Marine Service in preparation for the potential arrival of Hurricane Lee on September 15, 2023 in Stonington, Maine. 

Joe Raedle | Getty Photos

A tropical storm warning stretched from the New Hampshire-Maine border by Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island to northern New Brunswick. A hurricane watch was in impact for New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

Utilities reported almost 200,000 clients with out energy from Maine to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia’s largest airport, Halifax Stanfield Worldwide, had no incoming or outgoing flights scheduled Saturday.

Peak gusts are projected to be 70 mph (113 kph) on the coast in jap Maine, however there will likely be gusts as much as 50 mph (80 kph) throughout a swath greater than 400 miles vast, from Maine’s Moosehead Lake eastward all the way in which into the ocean, Foisy mentioned.

Cruise ships discovered refuge at berths in Portland, whereas lobstermen in Bar Harbor — the touristy gateway to Acadia Nationwide Park — and elsewhere pulled their expensive traps from the water and hauled their boats inland, leaving some harbors trying like ghost cities on Friday.

Two lobstermen — one in every of them Billy Bob Faulkingham, Home Republican chief of the Maine Legislature — survived after their boat overturned whereas hauling traps Friday forward of the storm, officers mentioned.

The boat’s emergency locator beacon alerted authorities, and the 2 fishermen clung to the hull of the overturned boat till assist arrived, mentioned Winter Harbor Police Chief Danny Mitchell. The 42-foot boat sank.

“They’re very fortunate to be alive,” he mentioned.

Lee lashed the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Bahamas and Bermuda earlier than turning northward, and heavy swells had been more likely to trigger “life-threatening surf and rip present circumstances” within the U.S. and Canada, in keeping with the hurricane heart.

At the same time as they ready, New Englanders appeared largely unconcerned. Some brushed apart Lee as a glorified nor’easter.

Mickey Neuts-Richards, of South Portland, got here out early Saturday to a coastal overlook hoping to see the storm’s fury on full show however was dissatisfied.

“I used to be simply anticipating extra waves smashing up in opposition to the rocks a bit bit, you already know? I awakened this morning and I appeared out the window and I assumed it will be downpouring, however nothing,” she mentioned. “The place’s Lee?”

In Canada, Ian Hubbard, a meteorologist for Setting and Local weather Change Canada and the Canadian Hurricane Centre, mentioned Lee will not be anyplace close to as extreme because the remnants of Hurricane Fiona, which a yr in the past washed homes into the ocean, knocked out energy to most of two provinces and swept a girl into the ocean.

But it surely was nonetheless a harmful storm. Kyle Leavitt, director of the New Brunswick Emergency Administration Group, urged residents to remain house, saying, “Nothing good can come from testing the large waves and the way sturdy the wind really is.”

Lee shares some traits with 2012’s harmful Superstorm Sandy — each had been as soon as sturdy hurricanes that turned post-tropical cyclones earlier than landfall. However Lee is predicted to provide far much less rain than Sandy, which prompted billions of {dollars} in harm and was blamed for dozens of deaths in New York and New Jersey.

Damaging hurricanes are comparatively uncommon up to now north. The Nice New England Hurricane of 1938 introduced gusts as excessive as 186 mph (300 kph) and sustained winds of 121 mph (195 kph) at Massachusetts’ Blue Hill Observatory. However there have been no storms that highly effective in recent times.


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