Hurricane Lee continues to barrel toward the New England and Atlantic Canada coasts and could make landfall this weekend anywhere from the coast of Maine to Nova Scotia.
A hurricane watch was in effect Wednesday night from Stonington, Maine, up to the U.S. border with Canada, as well as parts of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, the National Hurricane Center said in its 11 p.m. advisory.
A tropical storm watch was also in effect for parts of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Rhode Island, Maine and Massachusetts, including Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. Cape Cod Bay and Nantucket were under a storm surge watch.
Lee could make landfall Saturday night or early Sunday in New Brunswick or Nova Scotia, near the border between Maine and Canada.
Lee rapidly intensified from a Category 1 to a major Category 5 storm last week before it weakened. It was a Category 2 storm Wednesday night, with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph.
It was 345 miles south-southwest of Bermuda and moving north-northwest at 9 mph. Tropical storm conditions were expected in Bermuda early Thursday, the National Hurricane Center said. The territory is under a tropical storm warning.
Lee’s center is expected to pass west of Bermuda on Thursday before it approaches the coast of New England and Atlantic Canada on Friday and Saturday. Dangerous surf and life-threatening rip currents are expected along parts of the East Coast and Atlantic Canada into the weekend. A storm surge of up to 4 feet is forecast for parts of the East Coast.
Though Lee is expected to weaken, it's still "expected to remain a large and dangerous hurricane for the next couple of days," the National Hurricane Center said.
Impacts will be felt hundreds of miles away, with hurricane conditions possible for Down East Maine and parts of coastal New England bracing for tropical storm-force winds and heavy rain. Hurricane-force winds extended 115 miles out from Lee's center Wednesday night.
In preparation, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Wednesday that 50 state National Guard members will be deployed to Long Island.
"A major hurricane is currently churning in the Atlantic and we are keeping a close eye on this storm because it’s too early to predict what this potentially dangerous weather system will do," she said in a statement. "Out of an abundance of caution, I have deployed the National Guard and directed state agencies to prepare emergency response assets and be ready to respond to local requests for assistance."
"New Yorkers in coastal areas should watch the forecast and be ready to act, if necessary, to stay safe," she continued.
Rhode Island Gov. Daniel McKee said Tuesday that the state Emergency Management Agency was in communication with weather agencies, including the National Weather Service in Boston.
"My team will continue to monitor the storm and keep Rhode Island informed," he said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.
The National Park Service said several parts of Acadia National Park in Maine, including all campgrounds, would close Friday.
The 2023 hurricane season was predicted to be "above normal" compared to previous years, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said last month, citing "ocean and atmospheric conditions, such as record-warm sea surface temperatures." This year, there have been 14 named storms, five hurricanes and three major hurricanes.