Hurricane Lee continues to move toward New England, where hurricane and tropical storm watches have been issued for coastal residents in anticipation of the potential impact of the massive storm Friday and into the weekend.
Lee’s winds will begin blowing across parts of New England as early as Friday as the storm’s center is expected to move near the southeast of the region, blowing near or over Maine and Atlantic Canada by the weekend. “Big and Dangerous Cyclone” According to the National Hurricane Center.
Although the storm — now a Category 2 hurricane — is expected to weaken as it approaches, it will still have a massive radius of damaging winds that will be felt significantly in coastal New England and Canada’s Atlantic provinces.
“Stormy conditions, heavy rainfall and coastal flooding are possible for parts of eastern Maine on Saturday,” the National Hurricane Center said. The area is under a hurricane watch, as are parts of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
“Life-threatening” storm surge flooding could inundate parts of southeastern Massachusetts late Friday and Saturday, the agency said. A storm surge watch has been issued for areas including Cape Cod and Nantucket.
A tropical storm watch has been issued for coastal areas of New England, including Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts.
Lee was 295 miles southwest of Bermuda as of 5 a.m. Thursday and had maximum sustained winds of 100 mph, according to the hurricane center’s advisory.
The storm is on a westward track past Bermuda Thursday, prompting a tropical storm warning for the island.
Even if Lee does not make landfall in New England, the hurricane center said the spread of its damaging winds “will be of no significance to the exact location of the center making landfall.”
As of Thursday morning, hurricane-force winds extended 105 miles from its center and tropical-storm-force winds 290 miles, the agency said.
It flew through the eye of the storm on Wednesday, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Lt. Commander Josh Runnenberg.
“When a storm spreads like this, it’s scary in the sense that the damage is so widespread,” Ronenberg told CNN’s “Erin Burnett Out Front” on Wednesday night.
Heavy rain could inundate already rain-soaked parts of the Northeast, where saturated ground is particularly prone to flash flooding.
According to weather service data, over the past two weeks, parts of Massachusetts and New Hampshire have seen rainfall levels 300% above normal values. This week’s rain has already triggered dangerous flooding in parts of Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
Softened soil combined with gusty winds will increase the likelihood of trees falling, which could cut essential power lines and cause area-wide outages.