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Hurricane Lee: Watches in effect for N.S. and N.B. as storm heads to Canada

Hurricane and tropical cyclone watches have been issued in parts of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick as Hurricane Lee continues on its path toward eastern Canada.

As of 9 a.m. Thursday, Lee was about 435 kilometres southwest of Bermuda, moving north around 20 km/h, with maximum sustained winds of 155 km/h, making it a Category 2 hurricane. The storm is expected to accelerate, then gradually weaken as it passes over cooler waters.

In an update Thursday morning, the Canadian Hurricane Centre said Lee will approach as a Category 1 hurricane, becoming a strong tropical storm.

It is then expected to transition to a post-tropical low while making landfall anywhere from Grand Manan Island, N.B., to Shelburne County, N.S., Saturday evening.

“The circulation of Hurricane Lee will be quite broad as it reaches our region so impacts will occur not only near the track but up to 300 km away from it,” the update said.

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Hurricane watches are in effect for Grand Manan and Coastal Charlotte County in New Brunswick, and Digby, Yarmouth, Shelburne, and Queens Counties in Nova Scotia.

Tropical storm watches are also in effect for Saint John County, Fundy National Park, and Moncton and Southeast New Brunswick, as well as Annapolis, Kings, Lunenburg, and Hants Counties, Halifax Metro and Halifax County West, Cumberland County – Minas Shore, and Colchester County – Cobequid Bay in Nova Scotia.

The forecaster noted that in addition to Lee, the Maritime provinces may experience bands of downpours ahead of the storm Thursday and Friday.

“These bands are notoriously difficult to predict but it is important to understand there is a flooding risk with these bands well before the arrival of Lee,” it said.

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In a statement to media Thursday morning, Environment Canada said the ground is already heavily saturated due to wet weather over the summer, “and rapid rainfall could result in localized flooding.”

“Additionally, as trees are in full foliage, strong winds could uproot trees leading to power outages across the regions closest to the track of the storm,” it said.

“While it remains early to predict with a high degree of confidence, there is a significant possibility of high waves, pounding surf and some storm surge along parts of the Atlantic coast and potentially along the Bay of Fundy.”

It said precipitation amounts will “likely exceed rainfall warning levels,” and “winds associated with Lee will also likely warrant wind warnings across the region.”

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The areas most likely to be impacted include Halifax and westward, most of New Brunswick, parts of P.E.I., and eastern Quebec.

The statement noted that models have been predicting Lee’s path since last week, and have had a “wide range of outcomes in terms of the path the storm will take.”

Models are now showing a more consistent track heading toward the western portions of Atlantic Canada, though it said things can still change.

“At this juncture, there is a better consensus on the track and intensity but, given how far Lee remains from the region, significant changes to the track and intensity could manifest and all regions across Atlantic Canada and eastern Quebec need to remain vigilant and monitor the situation carefully,” it said.

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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.

— with files from The Associated Press

&copy 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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