Although Hurricane Lee’s actual path just isn’t but recognized, and it’s unclear how sturdy will probably be when it will get to Maine, officers alongside the coast are beginning to plan for a direct strike this weekend.
The storm has weakened because it reached class 5 standing late final week and is predicted to proceed to lose power because it strikes north over the open ocean towards the Gulf of Maine. Nonetheless, it’s anticipated to nonetheless be sturdy sufficient to topple timber and trigger flooding in inland and coastal Maine by the point the wind and rain start right here on Saturday.
The arrival of Hurricane Lee might mark one of many few instances that such a storm makes direct landfall in Maine, moderately than coming from one other state or passing Maine out to sea. The strategy conjures reminiscences of Hurricane Bob crashing into Maine’s shoreline in 1991, inflicting $42 million price of harm and knocking out electrical energy to greater than 150,000 folks.
Eastport could possibly be the middle of the motion. The town, situated on the Canadian border in Washington County, is predicted to be buffeted by sustained winds between 39 and 57 mph — among the strongest anticipated from the storm when it makes landfall, in keeping with the Nationwide Hurricane Middle. And it might get stronger winds than that.
“You all the time look out for the worst, irrespective of how dumb it’s when nothing occurs,” George “Bud” Finch, the interim metropolis supervisor, mentioned. “If it comes quick, we’ve received to be prepared.”
Eastport and different close by cities have vital tides and will expertise some flooding at round midnight Friday and round midday and midnight on Saturday, relying on the power and timing of the storm. Eastport is accessible by land solely by causeways on Route 190, and so might get minimize off if the mixed storm surge and excessive tides are excessive sufficient.
The town will shut down the street if it has to to maintain motorists protected from a storm surge, Finch mentioned, since there are locations the place waves can hit the street.
Mount Desert Island, like Eastport, is accessible by land solely through a causeway, however it’s a a lot busier vacationer vacation spot than Eastport. Bar Harbor’s public security officers are planning to fulfill with different city employees on Thursday to debate planning for if the facility goes out or roads get blocked off by fallen timber or energy traces, David Kerns, the city’s interim police chief, mentioned.
Kerns mentioned that due to the advance warning concerning the approaching storm, he doesn’t anticipate that there can be a mass exodus of vacationers and residents attempting to drive off the island unexpectedly. If there was, he would coordinate with state and county emergency administration officers and others on the island to handle the site visitors, he mentioned.
Acadia Nationwide Park, which usually will get greater than half one million visits every September, is also maintaining a tally of the storm. Guests typically gravitate towards the park’s rugged shore when storms kick up the surf within the Gulf of Maine to see huge waves crash in opposition to the rocks.
“We’re anticipating huge waves, we’re anticipating excessive winds, and we’re anticipating rip tides,” mentioned Amanda Pollock, the park’s spokesperson.
Massive surf alongside Acadia’s shore has confirmed to be harmful prior to now, when some unsuspecting guests have been caught by waves and swept into the ocean. Final September, a Massachusetts girl was rescued after a big wave kicked up by Hurricane Earl dragged her into the ocean from a rocky ledge close to Thunder Gap.
In 2009, an unusually massive wave generated by Hurricane Invoice, which additionally handed far out to sea, drenched folks gathered close to Thunder Gap and dragged a number of of them into the water. Some had been injured and one particular person, a 7-year-old woman from New York, was pulled into the ocean and drowned.
To guard guests this weekend, the park plans to shut Ocean Drive, from the Sand Seaside entrance station to Stanley Brook Street at Seal Harbor, and the one-way part of Schoodic Loop Street to motor automobiles at 5 p.m. on Friday. All of the park’s campgrounds will shut at 10 a.m. Friday. These elements of Acadia will keep closed till park employees deems that it’s protected once more for guests to make use of these areas, Pollock mentioned.
Updates to circumstances and entry to the park will likely be posted on the park web site or by its social media channels, she mentioned.
“Customer security is the Nationwide Park Service’s prime precedence,” park officers mentioned Wednesday. “Guests ought to keep again from the ocean’s edge to keep away from rogue waves that may wash folks out to sea even within the aftermath of the storm.”
Each Bar Harbor and Eastport even have had some cruise ships cancel their deliberate visits this weekend. Eastport, which is extra shielded from the ocean with a big pier, received a request from one cruise ship that wishes to shelter there, Finch mentioned. The town has one other pier on the delivery terminal at Estes Head in case a second ship desires to remain there, he mentioned.
In Rockland, division heads had been assembly Wednesday afternoon with the town supervisor to debate logistics, Chris Whytock, emergency administration director for Rockland, mentioned. The harbormaster has made plans to get among the boats out of the harbor and will take away some dock floats to protect them from injury.
“We’re ready and watching, however it is a storm that appears pretty manageable,” Whytock mentioned. “I believe we’ve seen worse, however on the similar time we all the time need to be ready.”
Rob Leavitt, Boothbay Harbor’s harbormaster, is encouraging native boat house owners to verify their boats are adequately secured for the climate or take away their boats from the water. He mentioned lots of boat house owners are scrambling to discover a sheltered place to tie up their boats or somebody to assist haul them out on dry land. It isn’t simple on brief discover.
“A lot of the distributors are full up and aren’t taking over new prospects,” Leavitt mentioned. “It’s not a great scenario.”
Bangor Each day Information reporter Jules Walkup contributed to this story.