Accessibility links

Breaking News
USA

Atlantic Storm Lee Makes Landfall in Canada, Kills 1 Man in Maine

update

Waves crash against the rocks at Portland Head Light in South Portland, Maine, Sept. 15, 2023. The building is the oldest lighthouse in Maine.

Atlantic storm Lee made landfall at near-hurricane strength Saturday in Nova Scotia, Canada, after bringing destructive winds, rough surf and torrential rains to a large swath of New England and Maritime Canada that toppled trees, swamped coastlines and cut power to tens of thousands. One person was killed in Maine when a tree limb fell on his vehicle.

With sustained winds of 68 miles per hour (110 kilometers per hour), the center of the post-tropical cyclone came ashore about 133.5 miles (215 kilometers) west of Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. That's about 50 miles (80 kilometers) southeast of Eastport, Maine.

The storm was expected to weaken as it moved into New Brunswick and the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

In the United States, a tropical storm warning remained in effect from Cape Elizabeth, Maine, north to the U.S.-Canada border. That included Bar Harbor, the touristy gateway to Acadia National Park, where a whale watch vessel broke free of its mooring and crashed ashore. Authorities worked to offload 1,800 gallons of diesel fuel to prevent it from spilling into the ocean.

Lee flooded coastal roads in Nova Scotia and took ferries out of service as it fanned anxiety in a region still reeling from wildfires and severe flooding this summer. The province's largest airport, Halifax Stanfield International, canceled all flights.

"People are exhausted. ... It's so much in such a small time period," said Pam Lovelace, a councilor in Halifax.

Power outages, storm surges

Hurricane-force winds extended as far as 137 miles (220 kilometers) from Lee's center, with tropical-storm-force winds extending as far as 391 miles (630 kilometers) — enough to cover all of Maine and much of Maritime Canada.

The storm was so big it caused power outages several hundred miles from its center. At midday Saturday, 11% of electricity customers in Maine lacked power, along with 27% of Nova Scotia, 8% of New Brunswick and 3% of Prince Edward Island.

A storm surge of up to 3.28 feet (1 meter) was expected along coastal areas, accompanied by large, destructive waves, the hurricane center said. Lee could drop as much as 10 centimeters of rain on parts of Maine, Massachusetts, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick through Saturday night, with the potential for local flooding.

A 51-year-old motorist in Searsport, Maine, died after a large tree limb fell on his vehicle Saturday on U.S. Highway 1 during a period of high winds, the first fatality attributed to the storm.

The tree limb brought down live power lines, and utility workers had to cut power before the man could be removed, said Police Chief Brian Lunt. The unidentified man died later at a hospital, Lunt said.

The storm skirted some of the most waterlogged areas of Massachusetts that days earlier had experienced severe flash flooding, when fast water washed out roads, caused sinkholes, damaged homes and flooded vehicles.

In eastern Maine, winds died down enough by late afternoon for utility workers to begin making repairs. Both Central Maine Power and Versant Power had hundreds of workers, including out-of-state crews, to assist in the effort.

Lobstermen's boat capsizes

This has been an especially wet summer for the entire region — it ranked second in the number of rainy days in Portland, Maine — and Lee's high winds toppled trees stressed by the rain-soaked ground in Maine, the nation's most heavily wooded state.

Cruise ships found refuge at berths in Portland, while lobstermen in Bar Harbor and elsewhere pulled traps from the water and hauled boats inland.

Billy Bob Faulkingham, House Republican leader of the Maine Legislature, and another lobsterman survived after their boat overturned while hauling traps ahead of the storm Friday, officials said.

The boat's emergency locator beacon alerted authorities, and the two clung to the hull until help arrived, said Winter Harbor Police Chief Danny Mitchell. The 42-foot boat sank.

"They're very lucky to be alive," Mitchell said.

XS
SM
MD
LG