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Hurricane Lee is moving toward New England. Here's what to expect in CT

Satellite imagery of Hurricane Lee captured around 11:30am EST on September 15, 2023.
NOAA
Satellite imagery of Hurricane Lee captured around 11:30am EST on September 15, 2023.

After a week of torrential rain and even a tornado, Hurricane Lee continues to track north and is expected to impact eastern New England beginning Friday evening through Saturday. However, Connecticut isn’t expected to bear significant impacts.

Lee is growing in size, but also weakening, as it moves over cooler New England waters. But as of Friday afternoon, Connecticut Public Meteorologist Garett Argianas said overall, the state will dodge the storm.

“There will be some noticeable wind during the day on Saturday. It'll be a breezy day, there could be some power outages, but I'm not expecting any widespread issues with that,” Argianas said. “There's a chance for a couple of showers mainly out in eastern Connecticut, but even the rainfall is not going to be a big deal locally.”

Argianas said there is potential for minor coastal flooding in Connecticut but expects nothing serious. And utility Eversource said it’s preparing for possible outages if the storm causes damage in eastern parts of the state.

"Crews will be staged around the state with a heavy emphasis in the areas expecting the highest winds — so they’re ready to restore power as soon as it’s safe to do so,” the company said in a statement.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is reminding people in potentially affected areas not to drive through flooded waters, to ensure that local emergency alerts are on, check individuals who may need extra assistance, and charge their devices.

“Hurricane Lee is forecast to pass offshore of southern New England on Saturday but its impacts will extend far from the storm’s center, mainly affecting the Massachusetts coastline,” the National Weather Service reiterated in its late Friday afternoon forecast.

Lee is projected to make landfall near the U.S.-Canada border, likely as a tropical storm.

Other parts of New England are already preparing for more direct impacts from the storm. The NWS projected possible high coastal rip currents and waves, storm surge flooding, damaging winds, and heavy rain for at least Massachusetts and Rhode Island. A dangerous storm surge was projected for Friday evening for Massachusetts' Cape Cod Bay and Nantucket Island.

Maine lifted its hurricane watch on Friday, and President Joe Biden granted the state a disaster declaration at their governor’s request. Tropical storm warnings are already in effect for Maine and Massachusetts.

Heavy rain already flooded areas of Massachusetts and Rhode Island earlier this week, and severe thunderstorms prompted flash flood warnings throughout Connecticut on Wednesday.

Hurricane Fiona had a similar storm track in 2022. It made landfall in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic before hitting Atlantic Canada as a strong post-tropical cyclone, NWS tracking shows.

And while destructive hurricanes are relatively rare in New England and Atlantic Canada, tropical storm Irene still caused more than $800 million in damage in Vermont.

This story has been updated. Connecticut Public's Patrick Skahill and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

As Connecticut Public's state government reporter, Michayla focuses on how policy decisions directly impact the state’s communities and livelihoods. She has been with Connecticut Public since February 2022, and before that was a producer and host for audio news outlets around New York state. When not on deadline, Michayla is probably outside with her rescue dog, Elphie. Thoughts? Jokes? Tips? Email msavitt@ctpublic.org.
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