In New Brunswick, Environment Canada has set into effect a hurricane watch for Grand Manan and coastal Charlotte County. This watch has also applied to the counties of Digby, Yarmouth, Shelburne, and Queens in Nova Scotia. The outlook predicts a marginal chance of Hurricane Lee stirring up near-hurricane conditions, with winds possibly reaching velocities as significant as 120 km/h.
Simultaneously, a tropical storm watch bears down upon Saint John and the Bay of Fundy coastline, extending further into Moncton and the southeastern parts of New Brunswick. For Nova Scotia, the same watch paints Annapolis Valley, western Cumberland/Colchester counties, Lunenburg County, and western Halifax County under a banner of possible sustained winds up to 60 km/h. These may culminate in colossal gusts reaching between 90 to 100 km/h this coming Saturday. It’s important to note these watches do not just signify boilings seas and howling winds but also present the risk of heavy rainfall cascading into local flooding.
The storm’s forecast presents a grim picture with Lee looming over the southern marine waters of the Maritimes as a Category 1 hurricane come Saturday morning. The tempest’s trajectory thereafter tilts towards the east, suggesting it will evolve into a tropical/post-tropical storm as it nears and crosses land, making landfall either in southwestern Nova Scotia Saturday evening or very early Sunday morning on the Bay of Fundy coastline of New Brunswick.
The gales that accompany Lee promise their utmost wrath in southwestern Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. Here, gusts could whip up to speeds between 80 to 110 km/h. Unique topographic conditions in northern Inverness County, Cape Breton might cause gusts to exceed 100 km/h. For the rest of the Maritimes, the wind’s fury may peak at speeds between 60 to 80 km/h. So forceful will be these winds, authorities predict power outages in southwestern regions of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and unstable conditions cannot be ruled out in other areas. The multitude of trees still lush with autumn foliage will bear the brunt of the tempest, amplifying its devastating effects.
Rain, another fierce element of the hurricane, poses a significant threat. The areas worst affected are likely to be along the storm’s trajectory across the region, and at present, New Brunswick has the odds stacked against it. The province might see rainfall amounts ranging from 60 to 120 mm from Saturday afternoon into Sunday morning. Southwestern Nova Scotia could see totals teetering between 50 to 80 mm. In such a brief period, rainfall of this magnitude inevitably risks flooding, and potentially, flash floods.
Along with wind and rain, the storm brings with it an increased wave and surf threat for coastal areas of the Maritimes. The Bay of Fundy coastline in New Brunswick and the Atlantic coastline of mainland Nova Scotia are predicted to be some of the hardest hit areas. Residents along the coast are warned to exercise extreme caution this Saturday, especially at high tide times.
The public is firmly advised to stay up-to-date with alerts and bulletins issued by Environment Canada and the Canadian Hurricane Centre to stay safe during this tumultuous time.