New England prepares for Hurricane Lee after days of rain, flooding and tornadoes

New England prepares for Hurricane Lee after days of rain, flooding and tornadoes

Portland, Maine— After a succession of rains, floods, sinkholes and tornadoes throughout the week, New England is about to face Hurricane Lee.

As the category 1 system affected Bermuda, the governor of Maine, Janet Mills, declared a state of emergency on Thursday and the region was placed under its first hurricane watch in 15 years. The state was bracing for 20-foot-high waves and wind gusts of up to 80 miles per hour, as well as more downpours.

A hurricane watch was in effect for eastern Maine, while the rest of the state and a stretch south through Massachusetts was under a tropical storm watch. Strong winds and coastal flooding are expected to arrive in southern New England Friday afternoon and spread northward.

Although Lee did not contribute to the recent flooding, it threatened to exacerbate conditions in a region that is already too wet.

The Coast Guard and emergency management agencies warned New England residents to prepare, and utility companies brought reinforcements to the region to deal with the outages. At Maine’s Boothbay Harbor marina, the community came together to get boats out of the water and out of harm’s way.

Similar scenes were experienced elsewhere, such as at 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 ocean, knocked out power to most of two provinces and swept a 72-year-old woman out to sea—residents of western Nova Scotia and Southern New Brunswick were warned about the risk of power outages and flooding this weekend.

The National Weather Service in Boston confirmed Thursday that damage to trees and power lines in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut the day before was consistent with a tornado. In Lincoln, Rhode Island, photos taken after the storm showed that at least one roof was damaged, and the media area of ​​a high school stadium had collapsed onto the stands.

Early Friday, Lee was about 490 miles southeast of Nantucket, Massachusetts, and moving away from Bermuda with maximum sustained winds of 85 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. It was moving north on a trajectory that could make it make landfall in Nova Scotia, possibly at tropical storm strength, forecasters said.

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