The Fiji Times

Hurricane Lee targets New England and eastern Canada


BAR HARBOR, Maine — Fishermen removed lobster traps from the water and residents hauled hundreds of boats ashore — leaving some harbours looking like ghost towns — while utility workers from as far away as Tennessee began taking up positions on Friday ahead of Hurricane Lee’s heavy winds, high seas and rain that’s expected to span hundreds of miles (kilometres) of land and sea.

The storm is projected to be more than 400 miles (640 kilometres) wide with tropical-stormforce winds when it reaches land, creating worries of power outages in Maine, the nation’s most heavily forested state, where the ground is saturated and trees are weakened from heavy summer rains.

Lee remained a hurricane with 80 mph (128 kph) winds at night as it headed toward New England and eastern Canada with 20-foot (6-meter) ocean swells, strong winds and rain. Forecaster­s said there would be winds topping 40 mph (64 kph) across the region, with peak winds reaching upward of 65 mph (104 kph), ahead of landfall expected Saturday afternoon .

There was little else to be done but wait and worry, and make final preparatio­ns as Lee spun about 300 miles (485 kilometres) southeast of Nantucket, Massachuse­tts.

In Bar Harbor, there were only two lobster boats in the water compared with 20 to 25 on a normal day. Lobsterman Bruce Young said his 38-foot (12-metre) vessel was transporte­d to the local airport, saying it’s better to be safe than sorry. “There’s going to be huge white rollers coming in on top of 50 to 60 mph winds. It’ll be quite entertaini­ng,” he said.

On Long Island, commercial lobster fisherman Steve Train had just finished hauling 200 traps out of the water. Train, who is also a firefighte­r, was going to wait out the storm on the island in Casco Bay. He was not concerned about staying there in the storm. “Not one bit,” he said.

In South Thomaston, Dave Cousens, who lost fishing gear when Hurricane Bob came through in 1991, said lobstermen were busy moving their traps, which cost $100 to $170 apiece, out of harm’s way to try to avoid damage from the rough seas.

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