Hurricane Lee is set to batter New England and Canada with 80mph sustained winds, causing widespread disruption.
The storm is forecast to brush the New England coast before making landfall later today in the Canadian province of Nova Scotia, which will see the brunt of it.
The National Hurricane Center predicted hurricane-force winds extending more than 100 miles (161 kilometers) from Lee´s center with lesser but still dangerous tropical storm-force gusts up to 345 miles (555 kilometers) miles outward.
Surges of 1 to 3 feet are expected for much of New England, according to updates National Hurricane Center.
Lee is also expected to generate rainfall of 2 to 5 inches, and tropical force winds were projected for coastal areas starting last night, with videos now surfacing on social media showing devastating winds and rain battering New England.
Satellite images shared on Friday show the scale of the storm as it covered the bared down on the coast
In anticipation, the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden issued an emergency declaration for Maine, providing federal assistance for the state ahead of the storm.
‘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 press briefing.
Forecasters have also warned that dangerous surf and life threatening rip currents will continue to affect the U.S. East Coast.
Intensity models indicate that Lee should begin gradually weakening, although the maximum winds are likely to still be at or just below hurricane strength when its center reaches Nova Scotia later today.
Satellite images showed the monster scale of the slowly-advancing storm.
Earlier this morning, the National Weather Service said that the storm had now transitioned to a Post-Tropical Cyclone with hurricane force winds.
In a post to social media, they said: ‘NHC 5 AM forecast for Lee. Lee has transitioned to a Post-Tropical Cyclone with hurricane force winds.
‘This meteorological designation is NOT a downgrade in impacts. This transition was expected.’
Videos have already emerged on social media showing the devastating storm making landfall.
One video of Salisbury Beach in Massachusetts shows large waves crashing against the shoreline, hitting properties in the process.
Other videos show impressive waves beating Nauset Beach on Cape Cod earlier this morning.
Footage taken at the town of Marshfield earlier this morning shows large waves crashing against homes and cars.
Nantucket was warned that they would bear the brunt of the winds, with the peak expected between 5am and 11am on Saturday morning
Long Islanders were making preparations, with workers at Billy Joel’s home putting sand bags around his Sag Harbor house.
The original building on the waterfront site was demolished in 2019, and a replacement home was built 30 feet above the previous home to combat potential sea rise.
Nantucket and Cape Cod were told on Friday night to brace for strong pre-dawn winds, with gusts of 55-65mph expected from 5am on Saturday until 11am.
Emergency services were warning people to be extremely wary of the coastlines, and avoid going to the sea unless extremely experienced.
New Englanders were also warned about potential power outages.
‘Please plan ahead to stay indoors if possible on Saturday and check on your loved ones and neighbors,’ said Michelle Wu, mayor of Boston.
The governor of Massachusetts, Maura Healey, joined Maine in declaring a state of emergency and asking the Federal Emergency Management Agency to issue a pre-disaster emergency declaration
She also activated up to 50 National Guard members to help with storm preparations, including operating highwater vehicles to respond to flooded areas.
‘As we’ve seen in recent weeks, severe weather is not to be taken lightly. Flooding, wind damage, downed trees, tree limbs – all these things create real hazards and problems for people,’ Healey said.
In Canada, Ian Hubbard, a meteorologist for Environment and Climate Change Canada and the Canadian Hurricane Centre, said Lee will not be anywhere near the severity of the remnants of Hurricane Fiona, which washed houses into the ocean, knocked out power to most of two provinces and swept a woman into the sea a year ago.
Waves crash in front of Minot lighthouse off the coast of Minot Beach in Scituate, Massachusetts
Kyle Leavitt, director of the New Brunswick Emergency Management Organization, urged residents to stay home.
‘Nothing good can come from checking out the big waves and how strong the wind truly is,’ he said.