Post-tropical cyclone Lee is bringing heavy rain, destructive winds and coastal flooding to Canada and Maine, knocking out power to tens of thousands, lashing the coasts with big waves and spurring calls to stay indoors.
Lee, once a powerful hurricane, is churning maximum sustained winds of 60 mph as it spreads north after making landfall Saturday on Long Island in Nova Scotia, one of Canada’s Atlantic provinces, according to the National Hurricane Center.
It’s expected to steadily weaken over Sunday and Monday, with conditions improving across rain and wind-battered areas of the northeast US and Canada.
The cyclone is forecast to turn eastward and move quickly to the northeast, across the Canadian Maritimes on Sunday, and into the North Atlantic by early Monday, National Hurricane Center Director Michael Brennan said in a video update Saturday.
For now, tropical storm force winds are extending out about 290 miles from what’s left of Lee’s core on Saturday, downing trees and power lines and leaving many in the dark.
In Nova Scotia, 130,250 customers are without power Saturday while 38,000 in New Brunswick were in the dark, according to an outage map by Nova Scotia Power.
In Maine, nearly 60,000 homes and businesses were without power, according to poweroutage.us. Photos from across the state showed toppled trees near homes and on roadways as powerful winds battered the area.
Winds of 83 mph were recorded in Perry, Maine, and 63 mph in Roque Bluffs, Maine.
Utility power crews were out assessing damages and actively responding to downed utility lines and other damage caused by the storm Saturday.
On top of the fierce winds, Lee is also stirring up dangerous surf and life-threatening rip currents along the US East Coast, Atlantic Canada and other areas.
“We’ll see very high waves and coastal erosion and minor coastal flooding,” Brennan said.
Another inch of rain was expected over parts of eastern Maine and New Brunswick, and Lee continues to threaten flooding in urban areas of eastern Maine in the United States and New Brunswick in Canada, according to the hurricane center.
In Canada’s New Brunswick province, north of Maine, officials cautioned residents to prepare for power outages and stock up on food and medication for at least 72 hours as they encouraged people to stay indoors during what they forecast would likely turn into a storm surge for coastal communities.
“Once the storm starts, remember please stay at home if at all possible,” said Kyle Leavitt, director of New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization. “Nothing good can come from checking out the big waves and how strong the wind truly is.”
In the US, states of emergency have been declared in Maine and Massachusetts. President Joe Biden has authorized the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to step in to coordinate disaster relief and assistance for required emergency measures.
Boston’s Logan International Airport saw a spike in flight cancellations Saturday with 23% of all flights into Boston and 24% of flights originating out of the city canceled, according to the flight tracking website FlightAware.