PORTLAND, Maine, USA. —
Severe weather in recent days that produced heavy rains, flooding, sinkholes and a tornado in New England could be a precursor to something more dangerous for the northeast coast of the United States: Hurricane Lee.
As the Category 1 system moved southwest of Bermuda, Maine Governor Janet Mills declared a state of emergency on Thursday and the entity is under its first hurricane warning in 15 years. The region is bracing for 20-foot (6-meter) high waves and wind gusts of up to 70 miles per hour (112 kilometers per hour), along with more rain.
A dangerous storm surge is forecast for Cape Cod Bay and Nantucket Island in Massachusetts on Friday afternoon, while the worst of the storm is expected to hit early Saturday.
Although Lee did not contribute to the recent flooding, it threatens to worsen conditions in an already very wet region.
The Coast Guard and emergency management agencies warned New England residents to prepare, and utility companies brought reinforcements to the region to deal with outages. At the marina in Boothbay Harbor in Maine, the community came together to get boats out of the water and out of harm’s way.
Similar scenes were experienced elsewhere, such as the Kennebunkport marina, where staff planned to remove 100 boats from the water, according to Cathy Norton, port manager.
In Canada – where a year ago the remnants of Hurricane Fiona caused homes to fall into the sea, knocked out power in much of two provinces and swept a 72-year-old woman out to sea – residents of western New Scotland and southern New Brunswick are being warned about the risk of power outages and flooding this week.
The National Weather Service in Boston confirmed Thursday that damage to trees and power lines in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut over the past day was consistent with a tornado. In Lincoln, Rhode Island, photos taken after the storm showed at least one roof damaged, and the media area of a high school stadium collapsed into the stands.
As of Thursday afternoon, Lee was 230 miles (370 kilometers) southwest of Bermuda, with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph (136 km/h), according to the National Hurricane Center. It is heading north on a trajectory that sees it make landfall in Nova Scotia, possibly as a tropical storm, forecasters said.