Powerful Lee brings rain, wind to New England as landfall looms in Atlantic Canada
AccuWeather forecasters warn that Lee’s impacts will be similar to a potent nor’easter, unleashing wind damage, power outages, storm surge flooding, coastal erosion and freshwater flooding.
Strong winds and surf led to power outages in parts of the state on Sept. 16.
Lee was designated as a post-tropical cyclone on Saturday, but remained a powerful, dangerous and potentially damaging storm as it eyed the stretch of coast from southwestern Nova Scotia to New Brunswick for landfall midday Saturday, AccuWeather meteorologists warned. Lee is continuing to hold hurricane-force winds, which expand over 140 miles from its center.
AccuWeather meteorologists expect Lee to strike with impacts similar to a hurricane or a powerful nor'easter. Lee is expected to be a 1 on the AccuWeather RealImpact™ Scale for Hurricanes in terms of impacts in the northeastern United States and Atlantic Canada due to the magnitude of wind damage, power outages, storm surge flooding, coastal erosion, freshwater flooding and disruptions to commerce and travel expected in the region.
As of 8 a.m. EDT Saturday, Lee was still producing hurricane force winds, with maximum sustained winds of 80 mph. Lee was located 160 miles to the south-southeast of Eastport, Maine. Lee was moving north at 25 mph, which was more than double the speed of the system a day earlier. An additional increase in forward motion will occur as the storm transitions to a tropical wind and rainstorm on Saturday.
Lee's impacts coming fast, hitting hard
Since Lee is expected to behave more like a nor'easter and the long-tracking storm has had plenty of time to raise winds, gather moisture and build seas, all of these impacts will be felt in eastern New England and the Maritime Provinces of Canada into Sunday.
"Strong winds, heavy rain and large waves will continue to push outward from the accelerating and expanding storm," AccuWeather Chief On-Air Meteorologist Bernie Rayno said.
These conditions were being hurled at the zone from eastern Massachusetts to coastal New Hampshire, central and eastern Maine and much of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island during the first part of the weekend.
"Lee already has a large wind field," Rayno said. Due to that, powerful winds will blast the coast in eastern New England and throughout much of the Canadian Maritimes. Lee's wind field is expected to further expand as Lee transitions into a rainstorm.
The worst conditions from Lee are likely to be seen into early Saturday afternoon in eastern New England and into Saturday night in Atlantic Canada.
The combination of high winds and already soggy ground and water-logged trees will lead to scores of power outages. Large tree limbs will break, and entire trees will be toppled.
Regional power outages are likely along much of the coast of eastern New England, including around Boston, with regional to widespread power outages anticipated from Down East Maine to coastal New Brunswick and much of Nova Scotia. Flight delays and cancellations will mount, especially those incoming and outgoing from Boston Logan International Airport.
In some areas, people may need to have the means to keep food preserved and the lights on if the power goes out.
"Travel will be dangerous during and after the storm due to high water, downed trees, live power lines and other debris," AccuWeather Meteorologist Dean DeVore said.
The outer rain bands were already reaching parts of central Maine on Saturday morning. Rain will continue to reach well to the north and west of the storm as Lee accelerates northward later on Saturday. A general 2-4 inches of rain will fall from Down East Maine to a large part of New Brunswick. As much as 4-8 inches of rain will pour down and an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 9 inches is possible in New Brunswick.
Enough rain will fall on already saturated ground to lead to flash flooding in urban areas and along small streams. Significant rises are likely, and flooding is possible on some of the rivers from Maine to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia this weekend.
Will there be a significant storm surge from Lee?
Storm surge flooding will occur with Lee with the worst conditions expected in eastern New England and Nova Scotia.
The most significant water rise combined with wave action will occur along the stretch of coast from south of Boston to Cape Cod, including Scituate, Massachusetts, and along the shoreline north of Boston from Rockport to Salisbury Beach, Massachusetts. All of these zones are likely to experience pounding waves, property damage and dangerous conditions.
The worst conditions will occur at times of high tide, which will happen in two rounds in New England through the midday hours on Saturday.
A significant storm surge is also expected as Lee pushes swells northward along the southwest coast of Nova Scotia.
As Lee pushes northward into the Bay of Fundy region, which borders Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Maine, water may become trapped and the routine exchange of tide water levels, which can be more than 50 feet in tranquil conditions, may be significantly disrupted.
What's in store after Lee?
In the wake of Lee, conditions will improve dramatically from southwest to northeast over the region later Saturday night to Sunday for storm cleanup operations. However, since there may be live power lines on the ground and the risk of trees still toppling over in the saturated ground, residents are urged to use extreme caution. Serious injuries and fatalities occur even in the aftermath of a powerful storm.
Since last week, AccuWeather meteorologists have been tracking another disturbance that moved off the coast of Africa. This tropical depression will soon evolve into the next tropical storm of the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season. The next name on the list is Nigel.
This system may track near Bermuda late next week or possibly farther to the west like Lee has done. In the latter scenario, the budding system could be of concern for the eastern U.S. and Atlantic Canada, Rayno said. At the very least, another round of dangerous surf is likely at the beaches along the Northeast coast of the U.S., and building seas offshore over the Atlantic is likely next week.
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