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Post-Tropical Cyclone Lee Targets New England and Eastern Canada Despite Downgrade

by Ryan Lee
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Post-Tropical Cyclone Lee

The National Hurricane Center has reclassified Hurricane Lee as a post-tropical cyclone, yet millions across coastal regions of New England and eastern Canada continue to be under storm watches and warnings as of Saturday. The potential for hurricane-level winds and heavy rainfall remains a concern.

Meteorological forecasts indicate the likelihood of extreme weather affecting parts of Massachusetts and Maine, as well as extending into Canadian provinces like New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Landfall in Canada is anticipated to occur later on Saturday.

As of 8 a.m. EDT on Saturday, the storm was situated approximately 185 miles southwest of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and 160 miles south-southeast of Eastport, Maine. It was advancing northward at a speed of 25 mph and boasted maximum wind gusts of up to 80 mph.

Both Massachusetts and Maine have declared states of emergency. In Maine, which is the most densely forested state in the U.S., the soil is already saturated, and the trees have been weakened due to heavy rainfall throughout the summer.

Power outages affecting roughly 20,000 homes and businesses from Massachusetts to Maine were reported early on Saturday. Meteorologist Todd Foisy from the National Weather Service in Maine highlighted downed trees in Hancock and Washington counties. “The situation is already critical, with fallen trees and power disruptions, and it is far from over,” Foisy stated on Saturday.

Wind gusts along the eastern coast of Maine are expected to peak at 70 mph, and a broad area extending over 400 miles from Moosehead Lake in Maine eastward into the Atlantic Ocean will experience gusts up to 50 mph.

Port facilities in Portland provided sanctuary for cruise ships, and fishermen in places like Bar Harbor, Maine, secured their traps and boats, leaving some ports appearing desolate on Friday.

Prior to its northern turn, Lee had already affected the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, and Bermuda. Dangerous surf and rip current conditions were predicted for both the U.S. and Canadian coasts, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Louise Fode, another National Weather Service meteorologist in Maine, warned of waves as high as 15 feet causing coastal erosion and damage, in addition to power outages from the strong winds. Eastern Maine was under a flash flood watch with up to 5 inches of rain expected.

While residents in New England, particularly in Maine, seemed to exhibit a sense of resilience given their familiarity with harsh winter storms, preparations were still underway.

Ian Hubbard, a meteorologist for Environment and Climate Change Canada and the Canadian Hurricane Centre, emphasized that while Lee would not be as devastating as the remnants of last year’s Hurricane Fiona, caution was still warranted. Kyle Leavitt, director of the New Brunswick Emergency Management Organization, echoed this sentiment, urging citizens to avoid unnecessary outdoor activities.

While severe storms of this nature are relatively uncommon in northern regions, the New England area is not unfamiliar with their potential impact. The notorious Great New England Hurricane of 1938 brought winds with speeds up to 186 mph, although no recent storms have reached such intensities. Lessons were also learned from the damage inflicted by the downgraded Tropical Storm Irene in 2011, which resulted in over $800 million in damages in Vermont alone.

Reporters Sharp and Whittle provided coverage from Portland, while contributions also came from Rob Gillies, a writer for Big Big News based in Toronto.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Post-Tropical Cyclone Lee

What is the current classification of the storm affecting New England and eastern Canada?

The National Hurricane Center has reclassified the storm, originally known as Hurricane Lee, as a post-tropical cyclone as of Saturday.

Are there any storm watches or warnings in effect?

Yes, millions of people across coastal New England and eastern Canada remain under storm watches and warnings due to the potential for hurricane-level winds and heavy rainfall.

What areas are most likely to be impacted by the storm?

Parts of Massachusetts and Maine in the United States and the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are expected to be significantly affected.

What is the storm’s current location and speed?

As of 8 a.m. EDT on Saturday, the storm was located approximately 185 miles southwest of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and 160 miles south-southeast of Eastport, Maine. It is moving northward at a speed of 25 mph with maximum wind gusts of up to 80 mph.

Have any states of emergency been declared?

States of emergency have been declared for Massachusetts and Maine to prepare for the impact of the storm.

What kind of damage has the storm caused so far?

As of early Saturday, about 20,000 power outages have been reported from Massachusetts to Maine. Downed trees have also been reported in Hancock and Washington counties in eastern Maine.

What are the projected peak wind gusts?

Wind gusts along the eastern coast of Maine are expected to peak at 70 mph, while a broader area extending more than 400 miles will experience gusts up to 50 mph.

How are local communities preparing for the storm?

Cruise ships have found refuge in Portland, and fishermen have secured their traps and boats, among other precautionary measures. Residents are advised to avoid unnecessary outdoor activities.

What is the outlook for coastal areas?

Parts of coastal Maine could see waves as high as 15 feet, leading to coastal erosion and damage. Flash flood watches are also in effect for eastern Maine.

Have there been any similar storms in recent years?

While severe storms are relatively uncommon in northern regions, lessons have been learned from the impact of the downgraded Tropical Storm Irene in 2011, which caused over $800 million in damages in Vermont.

More about Post-Tropical Cyclone Lee

  • National Hurricane Center Updates
  • Massachusetts Emergency Declarations
  • Maine State Weather Warnings
  • Environment and Climate Change Canada Weather Updates
  • Historical Data on Great New England Hurricane of 1938
  • Impact of Tropical Storm Irene in Vermont
  • New Brunswick Emergency Management Organization Alerts

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