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Hurricane watch lifted for Maine coast as President Biden approves disaster aid

National Hurricane Center

A hurricane watch that had been in effect for Down East Maine has been lifted.

The watch was issued by the National Hurricane Center on Wednesday.

Hurricane Lee is taking an eastward tack, with landfall predicted over Nova Scotia midday Saturday. A hurricane watch remains in effect for the Canadian Maritimes.

Meantime, much of the Northeast — from Massachusetts to the Canadian border — is under a tropical storm warning.

National Weather Service Meteorolgist Louise Fode says Mainers will still face significant impacts from the storm.

"We're actually expecting tropical-storm-force winds pretty far inland. And people should be prepared to make those preparations — generators, tying down loose equipment, things like that — well away from the storm," she says.

And the gusty winds could cause extensive power outages.

"People need to be prepared to stay at home during an extended power outage; have enough fuel, have plans for what they're going to eat if they're not able to use electricity to cook and things like that," Fode says, adding that people who need power for medical equipment and don't have backup power may want to consider relocating.

Right along the coast, there could be significant erosion. Precipitation will begin overnight, with the heaviest rain falling tomorrow along the Down East coast, which Fode says could produce some flooding of roads.

Storm conditions are expected to peak during the day tomorrow, but the storm will move away quickly with partly- to mostly-sunny skies forecast for Sunday.

On Friday morning, President Joe Biden announced Maine had been approved for disaster assistance through the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Here's the latest from the National Hurricane Center as of 2 p.m. Friday:

"At 200 PM AST (1800 UTC), the center of Hurricane Lee was located near latitude 37.0 North, longitude 66.8 West. Lee is moving toward the north-northeast near 18 mph (30 km/h) and a northward motion at a faster forward speed is expected through Saturday. On the forecast track, the center of Lee will continue to move farther away from Bermuda and approach the coast of New England and Atlantic Canada through Saturday. Lee is then expected to turn toward the north-northeast and northeast and move across Atlantic Canada Saturday night and Sunday.

Maximum sustained winds are near 80 mph (130 km/h) with higher gusts. Lee is expected to be a large and dangerous storm when it reaches eastern New England and Atlantic Canada.

Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 105 miles (165 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 320 miles (520 km).

The estimated minimum central pressure based on data from the Air Force Hurricane Hunters is 965 mb (28.50 inches)."