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Hurricane Lee: What to Expect in Canada and New England

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

Lee was still hundreds of miles away from New England early Friday as 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 across New England and Canada have issued alerts and warnings anticipating the arrival of a powerful hurricane this weekend, though a small shift east or west will could make a significant difference in how damaging the storm will ultimately be.

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

A hurricane watch, meaning hurricane conditions are possible within the area, stretched through down-east Maine from Petit Manan Point to the U.S.-Canada border. Gov. Janet T. Mills of Maine declared a state of emergency on Thursday, and the White House ordered federal assistance to the state.

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

A tropical storm warning, meaning winds of 39 miles per hour or higher are expected within about 36 hours or less, was in place from Westport, on the South Shore of Massachusetts, and the islands of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard through parts of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia in Canada. Forecasters warned that the growing size of the storm means hazards will extend well away from the center.

Friday night and into Saturday, Lee was expected to move past Cape Cod as a large hurricane. By Saturday afternoon Lee’s center will be very near the western end of Nova Scotia.

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

While weakening is good, it will not diminish the potential impact of wind, rain and coastal flooding. “This storm is already on the larger side for a hurricane in terms of how wide it is,” Ms. Strauser said. “And it’s just going to get wider as it moves north.”

In Canada, officials are concerned that because of Lee’s broadness, 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 on Friday morning, and tropical-storm-force winds extended to more than triple that distance.

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

Johnny Diaz, Melina Delkic, Mike Ives, Orlando Mayorquin, Anastasia Marks, Eduardo Medina, Chris Stanford, John Yoon and Derrick Bryson Taylor contributed reporting.

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