- Hurricane Lee continues its northward trek.
- Maine’s governor declared a state of emergency.
- Power lines, downed trees are a major concern.
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A state of emergency has been declared in Maine and residents in much of New England are being told to check their emergency supplies, use caution in coastal areas and remain vigilant as Hurricane Lee continues its northward trek with the potential for high winds and heavy rainfall into the weekend.
“We continue to closely track the storm and expect heavy rains and high winds that likely will cause storm surge, flooding, infrastructure damage, and power outages,” Gov. Janet Mills said in a social media post Thursday afternoon. “We continue to strongly urge Maine people – particularly those Downeast – to exercise caution and to take steps to ensure they have what they need to stay safe as the storm draws closer.”
(MORE: The Latest Forecast For Lee)
Maine, Rhode Island and other parts of the New England Coast should be prepared before the weekend for the storm.
“It looks like early Saturday morning into Saturday evening should be the peak in New England,” weather.com senior meteorologist Chris Dolce said.
Concerns Over Falling Trees, Downed Power Lines
The ground in many areas is already saturated from recent rain and storms, which could raise the risk of downed trees and power lines.
“That has led to a lot of soil, soil erosion, nutrient runoff,” Jon Breed, spokesperson for Central Maine Power, told The Weather Channel. “That means that the root systems on a number of trees are rotting.”
(MORE: Hurricane Lee Tracker)
Trees in the region are also still heavy with leaves, since fall hasn’t yet kicked in.
“As always, if those trees bring down lines, we want customers to stay very well clear of those lines that can be incredibly dangerous and call us so our crews can come and resolve that problem,” Breed said.
Winds could gust over 50 mph near the immediate coast from Massachusetts to Maine, and Cape Cod through parts of eastern Maine could see up to 3 inches of rain.
“At the end of the day what we are looking at for eastern New England is basically the equivalent of a wet, nasty, Nor’easter,” Dolce said.
Boats, Watercraft Should Be Secured
The U.S. Coast Guard is asking people to secure all water craft, from large boats all the way down to kayaks and similar equipment.
“Because if we find a paddle craft, a float in the water, we assume somebody fell off of it and will expend search resources trying to find that person,” U.S. Coast Guard Capt. David McCown told The Weather Channel.
(MORE: 3 Things To Know About Lee In New England
Boat owners appeared to heed the warnings.
“It’s a batten-down-the-hatches kind of day,” Kim Gillies, an owner at Boothbay Harbor Marina in Maine, told The Associated Press.
Beachgoers Urged To Be Careful
Portions of Acadia National Park in Maine were set to close Friday ahead of the storm.
In Rhode Island, Gov. Dan McKee urged residents to use extreme caution along the shoreline. There is a high risk of rip currents for several areas.
“We’ve mobilized all of state government to ensure Rhode Island is prepared for the potential impacts of Hurricane Lee and additional severe weather over the next few days,” McKee said in a statement. “We are monitoring the situation closely and we are prepared.”
(MORE: Hurricane Hunters’ View Inside Lee’s Eye)
Officials in Seaside Heights, New Jersey, posted a reminder that beachgoers who go into the water in dangerous conditions or when lifeguards are off duty can be fined up to $1,250.
Parts of Massachusetts cleaning up from flooding in recent days that wasn’t related to Lee should largely escape more heavy rainfall.
“The center of the hurricane should remain well east of Massachusetts,” Dolce said. “But the impacts of the storm will stretch far from that because of the large wind field.”
Weather.com reporter Jan Childs covers breaking news and features related to weather, space, climate change, the environment and everything in between.
The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.