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Thursday May 30, 2024

Fallen trees, power outages as Storm Lee unleashes heavy winds, rains on US, Canada

This marks the second year in a row that such a storm has reached Canada

By Web Desk
September 17, 2023
A resident takes a photo of the gushing waves in the sea as Storm Lee approaches. — AFP/File
A resident takes a photo of the gushing waves in the sea as Storm Lee approaches. — AFP/File

After being downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone, Storm Lee battered the northeastern US and Canada, dumping heavy rains and knocking out power to tens of thousands of people.

The US states of Massachusetts and Maine experienced severe weather, and the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, where the storm was due to make landfall later in the day, were devastated by fallen trees and power outages due to hurricane-force winds.

The US National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said on Saturday that portions of the New England region in the US and Atlantic Canada were already experiencing winds gusting at 130 km/h (81 mph), coastal flooding, and heavy rains.

On Saturday, wind-related tree and power line damage left some 120,000 residents in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia without power. Nearly 20,000 individuals in adjacent New Brunswick were without electricity, Geo News reported.

"Crews have been able to restore power to some customers ... however, conditions are getting worse. In many cases, especially when winds are above 80 km/h (49.7 mph), it isn't safe for our crews," Matt Drover of the Nova Scotia Electric Utility said earlier.

From Maine to Nova Scotia, utilities reported tens of thousands of customers without power, according to Al Jazeera.

Over the weekend, the administration of US President Joe Biden declared an emergency declaration for Maine in advance of the storm, giving the state federal aid.

"We encourage all of those in the path of this large and dangerous storm to remain alert," White Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre told a news briefing.

Storm Lee, a powerful hurricane over the Atlantic, has been threatening Bermuda for over a week, causing mostly harmless damage to land. This marks the second year in a row that such a storm has reached Canada.

Before heading north, Lee pounded the US Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, and Bermuda. This far north, destructive hurricanes are relatively uncommon.

At Massachusetts' Blue Hill Observatory, the Great New England Hurricane of 1938 produced sustained winds of 195 km/h (121 mph) with gusts as high as 300 km/h (186 mph). However, there haven't been any storms so strong in recent memory.

Hurricane Irene in 2011 taught the area the hard way that destruction is not always limited to the shore. Despite being downgraded to a tropical cyclone, Irene nevertheless cost Vermont almost $800 million in damage.