More than 150,000 homes and businesses in Maine and eastern Canada were left in the dark Sunday as winds of up to 50 mph lashed the remnants of the once-powerful Hurricane Lee.
Lee, once a Category 5 behemoth, was downgraded to a post-tropical storm but managed to maintain winds of 45 mph on Sunday. The storm was centered about 70 miles west of Charlottetown on Prince Edward Island, Canada, and was moving northeast at 22 mph.
Maine Gov. Jenelle Mills warned that high winds from the storm, combined with full canopy trees and saturated ground, will cause downed trees to be an ongoing problem. He urged residents to stay off the roads — and said those who must travel should avoid driving over downed trees or downed wires and obey road closure signs and barriers.
A 51-year-old Maine man died Saturday after a large tree limb fell on his vehicle on a highway in Searsport, about 110 miles northeast of Portland. The limb fell down live power lines, and utility crews had to cut off power before removing the dead man to a hospital, Police Chief Brian Lund said.
Lee lands in Canada:Perceived impacts in New England: Power outages, downed trees
■ Forecasters said coastal flooding will recede on Sunday and the storm will dissipate completely by Tuesday.
∎ The Hurricane Center named a new storm Saturday night. Tropical Storm Nigel, more than 1,000 miles east of Bermuda, is forecast to gain hurricane strength on Monday. Nigel is not predicted to hit the US. AccuWeather said.
Very little additional damaging rainfall was forecast from the remnants of Lee. But swells created by Lee continue to affect thousands of miles of Atlantic coastline. The Hurricane Center reported large swells in Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, Turks and Caicos Islands, the Bahamas, Bermuda, the US East Coast and Atlantic Canada.
“These swells can create life-threatening surf and rip current conditions,” the center warned.
Airport schedules in New England and Canada began to normalize on Sunday. 230 flights in and out of Boston’s Logan Airport were canceled and more than 100 were delayed Saturday. Airports in Portland and Bangor, Maine, suffered multiple delays and cancellations, as did Canadian airports in Toronto, Montreal and Halifax.
Lee completed its transition from a hurricane to a post-tropical storm Saturday morning, although it still has hurricane-force winds. A post-tropical cyclone is when a hurricane loses its tropical characteristics and becomes more “extratropical,” associated with fronts and a larger air system, said meteorologist Sarah Johnson, with the National Weather Service in Gray/Portland, Maine. Post-tropical cyclones can bring even stronger winds and rain. The weather service says.
Destructive tornadoes are relatively rare for New England. The Great New England Hurricane of 1938 had sustained winds of 186 mph and gusts of 121 mph at the Blue Hill Observatory in Massachusetts. But recent years have not seen such powerful storms.
Contributing: Jeanine Sanducci and Tina Voyles Bulwer, USA TODAY; Associated Press