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Weather warnings issued across N.S., N.B. as Hurricane Lee set to strike

Environment Canada has issued numerous weather warnings across Nova Scotia and New Brunswick as Hurricane Lee continues to barrel toward the East Coast.

Lee is approaching the region as a Category 1 hurricane, and is expected to move into western Nova Scotia and southern New Brunswick Saturday “with heavy rains, high winds, and large waves.”

According to an early morning update from the Canadian Hurricane Centre, Lee is expected to become a strong tropical storm before transforming into a post-tropical storm while making landfall Saturday evening anywhere from Grand Manan Island in New Brunswick, to Shelburne County in Nova Scotia.

“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 Canadian Hurricane Centre noted.

Lee is expected to weaken “quickly” Saturday night, with lingering conditions Sunday.

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A tropical storm warning is in effect for New Brunswick’s Fundy Coast, as well as most of mainland Nova Scotia except the northern part of the province, Colchester County north and south of Truro.

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

“There is a possibility that Hurricane Lee could bring near-hurricane conditions,” Environment Canada warned in its weather alert.

The storm is set to bring heavy rain, wind and storm surge to the Maritime provinces. Rainfall warnings have been issued in southern New Brunswick and western Nova Scotia, which could see 50 to 100 millimetres of rain Friday night through Saturday.

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Wind warnings have also been issued in southern New Brunswick and western, central and portions of eastern mainland Nova Scotia, where strong winds with maximum gusts of 90 to 110 km/h are expected Saturday.

“Damage to buildings, such as to roof shingles and windows, may occur,” Environment Canada said. “High winds may result in power outages and fallen tree branches.”

Bob Robichaud, warning preparedness meteorologist for Environment Canada, said in a news conference Thursday that Lee won’t cause the same level of damage and destruction as post-tropical storm Fiona did last year.

While Lee is very large in size, Robichaud said the angle of approach is different and it has had time to weaken.

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“Really, the storm has a lot of cold water to travel over by the time it gets here,” he said. “In terms of intensity, (it’s) nothing like we saw with Fiona last year.”

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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