A hurricane is observed as Lee heads toward New England and Atlantic Canada

Hurricane Lee continues to barrel toward the coasts of New England and Atlantic Canada and could make landfall anywhere from the coast of Maine to Nova Scotia this weekend.

A hurricane watch was in effect Wednesday evening from Stonington, Maine, to the U.S. border with Canada and parts of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, the National Hurricane Center said in its 11 p.m.

A tropical storm warning was also in effect for parts of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Rhode Island, Maine and Massachusetts, including Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. Cape Cod Bay and Nantucket were under a storm surge watch.

Lee could make landfall in New Brunswick or Nova Scotia near the Maine-Canada border Saturday evening or early Sunday.

Lee quickly intensified from a Category 1 storm to a severe Category 5 storm last week before weakening. As of Wednesday evening, it was a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds of 105 miles per hour.

It was located 345 miles south-southwest of Bermuda and was moving north-northwest at a speed of 9 miles per hour. The National Hurricane Center said tropical storm conditions were expected in Bermuda early Thursday. A tropical storm warning is in effect for the area.

Lee’s center is expected to pass west of Bermuda on Thursday before approaching the coast of New England and Atlantic Canada on Friday and Saturday. Dangerous surf and life-threatening rip currents are expected across parts of the East Coast and Atlantic Canada through the weekend. A storm surge of up to 4 feet is forecast for parts of the East Coast.

Although Lee is expected to weaken, it is expected to “remain a large and dangerous hurricane over the next few days,” the National Hurricane Center said.

Impacts will be felt hundreds of miles away, with hurricane conditions possible in Down East Maine and parts of the New England coast, gearing up for tropical storm-force winds and heavy rain. Hurricane-force winds spread 115 miles from central Lee Wednesday evening.

In preparation, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Wednesday that 50 members of the state’s National Guard would be deployed to Long Island.

“A major hurricane is currently raging across the Atlantic and we are keeping a close eye on this storm because it is still too early to predict what this potentially dangerous weather system will do,” she said in a statement. “Out of an abundance of caution, I deployed the National Guard and directed state authorities to prepare emergency supplies and be ready to respond to local requests for assistance.”

“New Yorkers in coastal areas should keep an eye on the weather forecast and be prepared to act if necessary to stay safe,” she continued.

Rhode Island Gov. Daniel McKee said Tuesday that the state emergency management agency was in contact with weather agencies, including the National Weather Service in Boston.

“My team will continue to monitor the storm and keep Rhode Island updated,” he said in one Post on Xformerly known as Twitter.

The National Park Service said several parts of Acadia National Park in Maine, including all campgrounds, would be closed Friday.

The 2023 hurricane season is expected to be “above normal” compared to previous years, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said last month, citing “ocean and atmospheric conditions, such as record warm sea surface temperatures.” This year there were 14 named storms, five hurricanes and three major hurricanes.

Brian Ashcraft

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