There was nothing left to do but wait and worry and make final preparations while Lee circled about 300 miles southeast of Nantucket, Massachusetts.
There were only two lobster boats in the water in Bar Harbor, compared to 20 to 25 on a normal day. Lobsterman Bruce Young said his 38-foot vessel was transported to the local airport and said it was better to be safe than sorry. “There will be huge white rollers coming in with winds of 50 to 60 miles per hour. It will be quite entertaining,” he said.
On Long Island, commercial lobsterman Steve Train had just pulled 200 traps from the water. Train, who is also a firefighter, wanted to wait out the storm on the island in Casco Bay.
He wasn’t worried about staying there in the storm. “Not one bit,” he said.
In South Thomaston, Dave Cousens, who lost his fishing gear in Hurricane Bob in 1991, said lobstermen were busy moving their traps, which cost $100 to $170 apiece, to avoid damage from the rough seas.
Waves as high as 15 feet could crash into parts of Maine’s coast, causing erosion and damage, and the strong gusts would lead to power outages, said Louise Fode, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Maine. Up to 5 inches of rain was forecast for eastern Maine, where a flash flood warning was in effect.
In Canada, Ian Hubbard, meteorologist for Environment and Climate Change Canada and the Canadian Hurricane Center, said leeward will not be nearly as strong as the remnants of Hurricane Fiona, which washed homes into the sea and knocked out power in most of two provinces and a year ago a woman was washed into the sea.
But it was still a dangerous storm. Kyle Leavitt, director of the New Brunswick Emergency Management Organization, urged residents to stay home, saying, “Nothing good can come from watching the big waves and seeing how strong the wind really is.”
Massachusetts Governor Maura Healey joined Maine in declaring a state of emergency and called on the Federal Emergency Management Agency to issue a pre-disaster emergency declaration. It also activated up to 50 National Guard members to help with storm preparation, including deploying flood vehicles to respond to flooded areas.
The storm’s arrival was expected just days after severe flooding and tornadoes hit New England.
“As we have seen in recent weeks, severe weather is not to be taken lightly. Flooding, wind damage, downed trees, branches – all of these things present real dangers and problems for people,” Healey said.
East Hampton, New York, banned swimming — and even walking, in at least some places — on its beaches because of dangerous surf. On the scenic main beach in the Tony second home community, where waves were already raging Friday afternoon, warning tape was posted on the edge of the sand.
In Rhode Island, Gov. Dan McKee said crews were working to secure the iconic 11-foot-tall “Independent Man” statue atop the State House dome. Workers sought to protect the 500-pound statue from the storm’s wind and rain after a drone recently captured footage showing damage to the base.
In Maine, where people are used to devastating nor’easters in the winter, some dismissed the coming lee and saw it as something similar to storms only without snow.
“We’re more afraid of northeast winds up here than we are of the remnants of a tropical storm,” said Andrea Silverthorne, who works the front desk and reservations at the Inn on the Wharf in Lubec, Maine’s easternmost town.
Many tourists were hit by the storm.
Kent Thomas and his wife Robin of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, watched the weather reports closely before deciding to travel to Mount Desert Island, home of Acadia National Park. They’re used to violent storms at home, so they let themselves drift.
“We will hide from the wind and weather like everyone else,” said Kent Thomas during a visit to Bar Harbor. “We have a lot of experience with tropical storms and hurricanes in North Carolina. Power outages and tree damage come with the territory.”