BOSTON — Massachusetts was spared the worst of Lee Saturday morning as the National Hurricane Center downgraded the storm to a post-tropical cyclone and Gov. Maura Healey lifted a state of emergency declared just before its arrival.
Lee is expected to make landfall later in the day in Canada and was tracking about 150 miles west-southwest of Halifax, Nova Scotia, as of 2 p.m., the National Hurricane Center said. Strong winds, coastal flooding, and heavy rains were occurring in portions of Maine and Atlantic Canada, according to the center.
Maximum sustained winds were recorded at 70 mph and the storm was moving north at 22 mph, according to a 2 p.m. update from the National Hurricane Center.
But Boston and much of Massachusetts appeared to be in the relative clear as the post-tropical cyclone moved further north, National Weather Service Meteorologist Rob Megnia said. Boston was experiencing subtropical storm force winds, with the latest gust recorded at Logan Airport reaching 38 mph.
“It’s still pretty windy and breezy but it’s really nothing more than a kind of a poor New England weather type of day today,” Megnia said. “We’ll start to see the northwest winds kind of gradually die down into this afternoon and by tomorrow we’re going to be looking at the beautiful fall day.”
A forecast for post-tropical cyclone Lee shows the storm is expected to make landfall in Canada on Saturday, according to the National Hurricane Center. Less than a half-inch of rain fell in Boston, Megnia said, and even on Cape Cod “it’s not looking too bad” with winds gusting at 39 mph on Nantucket and at 36 mph in Provincetown.
“It’s still pretty windy out there,” Megnia said. “But, again, nothing too crazy and we’re past the peak so things are winding down.”
The Federal Emergency Management Agency approved Saturday disaster assistance for Massachusetts to help response efforts.
“The president’s action authorizes FEMA to coordinate all disaster relief efforts to alleviate the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population and to provide appropriate assistance to save lives, to protect property, public health and safety and to lessen or avert the threat of a catastrophe,” the agency said in a Saturday statement.
A hurricane watch remained in effect for New Brunswick from the U.S.-Canada border to Point Lepreau, including Grand Manan Island, and for Nova Scotia from Digby to Ecum Secum, according to the National Hurricane Center.
“A northward motion but at a slower forward speed is expected later today, and the center of Lee is forecast to reach western Nova Scotia around midday,” the center said. “Lee is then expected to turn toward the north-northeast and northeast and move across Atlantic Canada tonight and Sunday.”
Tropical storm warnings were in effect for Portsmouth northward to the U.S.-Canada border, New Brunswick, all of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Magdalen Islands, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Three cruise ships — Aurora, Norwegian Pearl and Caribbean Princess — took shelter earlier in the day at the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal in Boston Saturday, according to a Massachusetts Port Authority spokesperson.
Healey declared a state of emergency Friday in advance of the storm, activating up to 50 members of the Massachusetts National Guard. Healey lifted the emergency, along with a separate one declared earlier in the week in response to floods in Leominster and North Attleboro, just after noon.
“We’re relieved that the impacts of Hurricane Lee have been minimal across Massachusetts and grateful for the public safety officials who have been responding to and preparing for severe weather and flooding throughout the week,” Healey said in a statement. “Flooding devastated several of our communities this week and we will continue to support them as they move into the recovery phase.”
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