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Millions under warning in New England as Hurricane Lee approaches

Tropical storm warnings were in effect for parts of Canada and a wide swath of the New England coast that included about seven million people in Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Hurricane Lee moved north across the Atlantic Ocean early Friday morning,

Lee was still hundreds of miles from New England early Friday when it produced tropical storm conditions in Bermuda. But conditions were forecast to deteriorate in the northeastern United States and Canada later in the day.

Government leaders in New England and Canada have issued watches and warnings anticipating the arrival of a powerful hurricane this weekend, although a small shift to the east or west could make a significant difference in the damage the storm will ultimately cause. .

As of 8 a.m. Friday, Lee was about 460 miles south-southeast of Nantucket in Massachusetts. It had maximum sustained winds of 85 mph, making it a Category 1 storm, and was moving north at 16 mph. Although the storm is expected to weaken, the Hurricane Center said it would remain “near or just below hurricane strength” as it approaches New York. England and Atlantic Canada.

A hurricane watch, meaning hurricane conditions are possible within the area, extended across eastern Maine from Petit Manan Point to the U.S.-Canada border. Governor Janet T. Mills of Maine declared state of emergency on Thursday, and the White House tidy federal assistance to the state.

The Canadian Hurricane Center also issued a hurricane watch for parts of the provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia on Wednesday. center saying that its hurricane and tropical storm warnings referred to the conditions expected for Saturday.

A tropical storm warning, meaning winds of 39 miles per hour or higher are expected within about 36 hours or less, was issued from Westport, on the south coast of Massachusetts, and the islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard across from parts of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in Canada. Forecasters warned that the storm’s growing size means dangers will extend far beyond the center.

On Friday night and into Saturday, Lee was expected to pass over Cape Cod as a major hurricane. On Saturday afternoon, downtown Lee will be very close to the western edge of Nova Scotia.

Bob Robichaud, warning preparedness meteorologist for Environment and Climate Change Canada, said at a news conference Thursday that Lee’s anticipated turn northward would bring Lee “into our response zone on Friday, again, most likely.” like a hurricane.”

Boston officials were hopeful after Lee turned “slightly eastward” Thursday morning.

“Right now, we expect the worst to bypass Boston, which is good news,” said Boston Mayor Michelle Wu. at a press conference Thursday. “Let’s keep our fingers crossed that it’s still going to be a screening.”

But he said conditions were expected to be similar to those in the northeast because wind and rain will extend well beyond the center over the coast.

The city expects to receive four inches of rain with winds up to 30 miles per hour when the storm hits Friday night and lasts into Saturday night, Mayor Wu said.

The city of Quincy, Massachusetts, just south of Boston, said it was installing floodgates Thursday to close gaps in its seawall.

Southampton, a city on the eastern tip of Long Island in New York that is threatened by high tides and coastal flooding, declared a state of emergencystarting Thursday and extending through the weekend.

Anne Strauser, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said the worst-case scenario for Maine would be if the storm moves further west and creates more flow toward the coast, which could worsen coastal flooding. She said any storm surge that occurred there would vary depending on the tidal cycle. Unlike when a hurricane makes landfall in the southern United States and tides vary by a few feet, tidal swings in Maine can be eight to 18 feet. Therefore, a storm surge during low tide might not have much effect.

As the storm heads north, it will weaken as it moves over colder waters. And as it gets closer to land, it is likely to change from a tropical system (which gets its energy from the ocean) to one similar to Hurricane Sandywhich extracted energy from competing cold and warm air masses.

While the weakening is good, it will not lessen the potential impact of wind, rain and coastal flooding. “This storm is already on the larger side for a hurricane in terms of its width,” Ms. Strauser said. “And it will get wider as you go north.”

In Canada, officials are concerned that because of Lee’s breadth, it is likely to affect most of the Maritime provinces and parts of eastern Quebec.

Hurricane-force winds extended up to 105 miles from the center of the storm Friday morning, and tropical storm-force winds extended up to more than three times that distance.

Western Nova Scotia faces some of the largest possible impacts from Lee, Environment Canada said.

Johnny Diaz, Melina Delkic, mike ives, Orlando Mayorquin, Anastasia brands, Eduardo Medina, Chris Stanford, Juan Yoon and Derrick Bryson Taylor contributed with reports.

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