Environment Canada has issued numerous weather warnings in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick as Hurricane Lee continues to track toward the East Coast.
Lee is approaching the region as a Category 1 hurricane and is expected to move toward western Nova Scotia and southern New Brunswick on Saturday “with heavy rain, strong winds and large waves.”
According to a morning update from the Canadian Hurricane Center, Lee is expected to become a strong tropical storm before strengthening into a post-tropical storm upon landfall Saturday evening anywhere from Grand Manan Island to New Brunswick in Shelburne County, Nova Scotia.
“The circulation of Hurricane Lee will be quite broad when it reaches our region, so impacts will occur not only close to the path, but up to 300 km from it,” noted the Canadian Center hurricane forecasting.
Lee is expected to weaken “rapidly” Saturday evening, with conditions lingering into Sunday.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for the Fundy coast of New Brunswick, as well as most of mainland Nova Scotia, except for the northern portion of the province, Colchester County to the north and south of Truro.
Hurricane watches remain in effect for Grand Manan and Charlotte Coast Counties in New Brunswick, as well as Digby, Yarmouth, Shelburne and Queens Counties in Nova Scotia.
“It is possible that Hurricane Lee could cause hurricane-like conditions,” Environment Canada warned in its weather alert.
The storm is expected to bring heavy rain, wind and storm surge to the Maritime provinces. Rainfall warnings have been issued for southern New Brunswick and western Nova Scotia, which could receive between 50 and 100 millimeters of rain overnight Friday into Saturday.
Wind warnings were also issued in southern New Brunswick and western, central and parts of eastern mainland Nova Scotia, where strong winds with maximum gusts of 90 at 110 km/h are expected on Saturday.
“Damage to buildings, such as roof shingles and windows, could occur,” Environment Canada said. “High winds can cause power outages and fallen tree branches.”
Bob Robichaud, warning preparedness meteorologist for Environment Canada, said at a news conference Thursday that Lee would not cause the same level of damage and destruction as post-tropical storm Fiona last year.
Although Lee is very tall, Robichaud said the angle of approach is different and he has had time to weaken.
“Realistically, the storm has a lot of cold water to go through before 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 November 30 and peaks Sunday.
In August, the National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration predicted between 14 and 21 named storms this season. Six to eleven of them are expected to become hurricanes, and of those, two to five could develop into major hurricanes.
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