Tropical storm warnings were in effect for parts of Canada and coastal New England as Hurricane Lee moved north across the Atlantic early Friday morning.
Lee was hundreds of miles from New England early Friday as it developed tropical storm conditions in Bermuda. But conditions in the northeastern United States and Canada were forecast to worsen by the day later.
Government leaders across New England and Canada have issued warnings and cautions in anticipation of the arrival of a powerful hurricane this weekend, although a slight shift in direction east or west can make a significant difference in how damaging the storm will ultimately be.
As of 8 a.m. Friday, Lee was 460 miles south-southeast of Nantucket, Massachusetts. It had maximum sustained winds of 85 mph, making it a Category 1 storm and moving northward at 16 mph, though the storm was expected to weaken, but the hurricane center said it would remain “near or below hurricane strength” as it approached New. England and Atlantic Canada.
A tornado watch, meaning tornado conditions are possible within the area, stretches from Petit Manon Point to the US-Canada border through lower-eastern Maine. Maine Governor Janet D. Mills declared A state of emergency on Thursday, and the White House ordered Federal aid to state.
The Canadian Hurricane Center issued a tornado watch for parts of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia on Wednesday. Center said Its hurricane and tropical storm watches indicate conditions expected on Saturday.
A tropical storm warning, meaning winds of 39 miles per hour or greater are expected within about 36 hours, for the south coast of Westport, Massachusetts and the Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard islands in New Brunswick and parts of Nova Scotia in Canada. Forecasters warned that as the storm grew in size, the dangers would be further away from the center.
By Friday night and into Saturday, Lee was expected to cross the Cape as a major hurricane. Lee’s center will be closest to the western tip of Nova Scotia by Saturday afternoon.
Bob Robichaud, warning preparedness meteorologist at Environment and Climate Change Canada, told a news conference Thursday that Lee’s expected northward turn would bring Lee “into our response zone on Friday, again as a hurricane.”
Officials in Boston were optimistic after Lee turned “a little east” Thursday morning.
“At this point, we’re expecting the worst in Boston, which is good news,” said Boston Mayor Michael Wu. At a news conference Thursday. “Fingers crossed, it will be the plan.”
But as winds and rain extend beyond the center of the coast, nor’easter-like conditions are expected, he said.
Mayor Wu said the city is expecting up to four inches of rain with 30 mph winds as the storm arrives late Friday evening and lasts through Saturday evening.
The city of Quincy, just south of Boston, said Thursday it would install floodgates to close gaps in its seawall.
The town of Southampton, on the eastern tip of Long Island, New York, is threatened by high tides and coastal flooding. state of emergencyStarts Thursday and runs through the weekend.
Anne Strasser, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said if the storm moves west and creates more onshore flow, Maine will have a worst case scenario, which could worsen coastal flooding. Any storm surge there would vary depending on the tidal cycle, he said. When a hurricane makes landfall in South America, and the tides vary by a few feet, the tides in Maine range from eight to 18 feet. So a storm at low tide won’t have much effect.
‘It’s going even wider.’
As the storm moves north, it weakens as it moves over cooler water. As it nears land, it is likely to become a tropical system — one that draws energy from the ocean — similar to Hurricane Sandy, which drew energy from competing cold and warm air masses.
Although attenuation is good, it does not reduce the potential impact of wind, rain and coastal flooding. ““This storm is already on the big side for a hurricane, as wide as it is,” Ms Strasser said. “It’s going to get wider as it moves north.”
In Canada, officials are concerned that due to Lee’s widespread nature, it will affect most of the Maritime provinces and parts of eastern Quebec.
Hurricane-force winds Friday morning extended 105 miles from the storm’s center, and tropical-storm-force winds extended more than three times that distance.
Environment Canada says western Nova Scotia faces some of the highest impacts possible from Lee.
Johnny Diaz, Melina Delgić, Mike Ives, Orlando Mayorquin, Anastasia Marks, Eduardo Medina, Chris Stanford, John Yoon And Derrick Bryson Taylor Contributed report.