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Hurricane Lee: Powerful storm now turning toward Canada’s East Coast

The Canadian Hurricane Centre says Hurricane Lee has begun its anticipated northward turn toward Canada.

As of 9 a.m. Wednesday, the storm was about 745 kilometres south-southwest of Bermuda, moving north-northwest at around nine kilometres an hour, with maximum sustained winds of 185 km/h.

A tropical cyclone information statement has been issued across all three Maritime provinces and parts of Quebec, warning that the intense system is likely to bring heavy rain and wind in the days ahead.

“The existing tropical airmass over Atlantic Canada will be further enhanced as the hurricane continues northward,” the statement said.

“This weather pattern will cause an approaching front over the Maritimes to become stationary and increase the risk of heavy rainfall over the Maritime provinces tomorrow and Friday prior to Lee’s arrival.”

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The predicted track for Hurricane Lee as of 9 a.m. Sept. 13.

Canadian Hurricane Centre

It said with the expanding size of the hurricane and a long northward trajectory, building surf conditions and rip currents are expected along Nova Scotia’s Atlantic Coast in the coming days, especially Friday.

Lee is expected to move into the Canadian marine district as a Category 1 hurricane late Friday. The forward motion of the storm is then expected to slow, with the intensity dropping “below hurricane strength” and becoming post-tropical as it approaches land.

Biggest impacts in western N.S.

There is still some uncertainty of where the storm will make landfall. The track of Lee’s centre could range anywhere from Downeast Maine to Lunenburg County in Nova Scotia, according to the tropical cyclone information statement.

“The current official track is just west of Yarmouth as a tropical storm just below hurricane strength and becoming post-tropical,” it said.

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Regardless of where the centre of the storm lands, western Nova Scotia has the “highest possibility of impacts,” the statement said — “which is worth noting since that region wasn’t impacted as severely as other parts of the region during recent storms like Dorian and Fiona.”

While Nova Scotia is expected to have the largest impacts from wind and storm surge, the heaviest rainfall is expected in western New Brunswick and northward into the Rimouski-Mont-Joli-Baie-Comeau areas of Quebec.

After Lee slows its forward motion, the storm’s trajectory is expected to shift from northerly to northeasterly. The “rather broad system” is expected to bring rain, wind and waves to all of the Maritime provinces, as well as eastern Quebec and neighbouring waters.

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The storm is then expected to weaken before reaching Newfoundland.

Lee is the 12th named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to Nov. 30 and peaked on Sunday.

The National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration in August forecast between 14 and 21 named storms this season. Six to 11 of them are expected to become hurricanes, and of those, two to five might develop into major hurricanes.

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