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8:45 p.m. – Centre of Lee near Saint John

By News Sep 16, 2023 | 8:49 AM

The centre of post-tropical storm Lee is now located near Saint John, according to forecasters.

Lee first made landfall on Nova Scotia’s Long Island around 4 p.m. Saturday.

In the 9 p.m. update from the Canadian Hurricane Centre, forecasters said the storm’s centre was 23 kilometres south-southwest of Saint John.

It is moving northeast at 22 kilometres per hour with maximum sustained winds of 110 kilometres per hour.

“Though Lee has transitioned from a hurricane to a strong post-tropical cyclone, our concerns about the threat it poses are unchanged,” said Kyle Leavitt, director of the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization.

“In fact, Lee has arrived faster and with slightly greater intensity than expected.”

Saint John and Moncton experienced a bit of a lull during much of the afternoon Saturday, but emergency management officials said we are not out of the woods yet.

Rainfall warnings continue for most of the province, with an additional 30 to 40 millimetres expected before it ends overnight or early Sunday.

New Brunswick EMO says most areas of the province are seeing peak wind speeds of between 60 and 80 kilometres per hour.

But along the Fundy coast, where wind warnings are in effect, strong wind gusts of 90 to 120 kilometres are expected.

The Saint John Airport has reported a peak wind gust of 85 kilometres per hour while Greater Moncton saw a gust of 78 kilometres per hour.

On Grand Manan, an unofficial wind gust of 150 kilometres was reported at the Long Eddy Point Lighthouse.

Strong wind gusts will continue throughout Saturday evening before starting to die down from west to east throughout the night.

Fallen trees have been reported in many communities, including in Saint John, where two large trees came in the historic King’s Square uptown.

Crews and arborists are working to address the sites on a “priority basis,” the city said in a Saturday afternoon news release.

Charlotte County has also been dealing with wind damage. Several trees have been toppled in Saint Andrews and St. Stephen.

For the latest updates from New Brunswick agencies please click this link 

Two trees toppled in King's Square in uptown Saint John on Sept. 16, 2023. Image: Zach Periard
A tree down along Milltown Boulevard in St. Stephen. Image: Mark Downey

Power Update

NB Power said more than 65,000 customers had been affected by the storm as of 4 p.m. Saturday.

There are currently around 19,300 homes and businesses without electricity, with more than 530 separate outages reported.

The hardest-hit areas currently include Central York/Sunbury, Charlotte Southwest, Kennebecasis Valley/Fundy, and Moncton/Riverview/Dieppe.

“Our crews are in the field doing damage assessments, clearing away debris and vegetation and making repairs to restore power safely and efficiently,” the utility said in an update late Saturday afternoon.

Before the storm hit, the utility stationed additional crews in areas where the greatest impacts were expected. Around 700 individuals are supporting restoration efforts at this time.

NB Power anticipates it could take “multiple days” to restore all of the outages.

Meanwhile, Saint John Energy is not currently reporting any outages.

To check the NB Power outage map click here.

To check Saint John Energy outages click here. Or follow on the social media platform X, formerly known as Twitter.

Travel Update

All flights in and out of the Saint John Airport have been cancelled today.

It is the same story at Greater Moncton Airport, where all remaining flights for the day have been cancelled.

To check the status of flights in and out of Saint John Airport click this link.

To check the status of flights in and out of Greater Moncton Roméo LeBlanc International Airport in Moncton click this link.

All Fundy Isles ferry services are suspended, including ferry services to Grand Manan, Deer Island and White Head.

The Peninsula Princess and Belleisle Bay ferries are also down while the Gagetown ferry is operating intermittently.

Bay Ferries has cancelled all sailings between Saint John and Digby, N.S., for Saturday, along with the two Sunday morning sailings.

Saint John Transit is dealing with detours due to flooding on several east-side streets. The latest details are available on their X account.

Flooding is being reported along parts of Rothesay Avenue, Retail Drive, McAllister Drive, Majors Brook Drive, Westmorland Road, and the Glen Falls neighbourhood.

City officials have said it could take several days for the water levels to recede.

Hurricane History

New Brunswick has a long history of being affected by severe hurricanes, with some of the most devastating storms in its history leaving a lasting impact on the province. One of the most severe hurricanes to hit New Brunswick was the “Saxby Gale” of 1869.

The Saxby Gale, named after the American meteorologist Samuel Saxby, struck the Maritimes on October 4, 1869. It was a Category 2 hurricane when it made landfall in New Brunswick. This powerful storm brought torrential rains, high winds, and a storm surge that inundated coastal areas. The Bay of Fundy, known for its extreme tides, experienced a tidal surge that was amplified by the storm, causing extensive flooding and damage along the coastline.

Another significant hurricane to impact New Brunswick was Hurricane Edna in 1954. Edna was a Category 2 hurricane when it hit the province in September. The storm caused widespread damage, with strong winds, heavy rain, and flooding affecting many communities. Edna’s impact was especially severe because it followed closely behind Hurricane Carol, which had struck the region just a few days earlier.

In recent memory, Hurricane Juan in 2003 had a significant impact on New Brunswick. Although it had weakened to a tropical storm by the time it reached the province, it still brought damaging winds, heavy rainfall, and power outages to many areas. The storm also caused coastal erosion along the Bay of Fundy.