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Hurricane Lee is headed to Boston: here’s what to expect

What will the last of summer bring?

JQ Louise
Tanya Edwards
Edited by
JQ Louise
Written by
Tanya Edwards

Updated Thursday, September 14. 

While it somehow seems early, hurricane season is unfortunately upon us, and it’s going to impact Boston and all of New England with a rainy, windy Saturday.

Hurricane Lee is tracking about 200 miles offshore as of Thursday morning, and New Englanders should prepare for what’s going to feel like a strong storm. For the coast, it will be a gusty, windy and rainy weekend, but further inland it will feel like a raw rainy Saturday, NBC News reports. 

There is currently a tropical storm watch covering coastal New England from Watch Hill, Rhode Island to Stonington, Maine, including Block Island, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.

"Hurricane Lee is forecast to pass offshore of southern New England on Saturday but its impacts will extend far from the storm's center," the National Hurricane Center wrote.

Hurricane Lee’s Current Path

Do Bostonians need to be concerned? According to the National Hurricane Center, Lee is expected to bring hazardous surf and rip current conditions to beaches across the East Coast all week.

The first wave of rain will hit Boston before dawn on Saturday, and strong winds will hit the coast, with Nantucket and the Cape getting wind gusts of 50 miles per hour or more through noon. Inland, look for gusts of 20 to 30 miles.

“For New England, we do expect impacts,” said John Cangialosi, senior hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center, reports

A storm surge watch has been issued for Cape Cod Bay and Nantucket, with expected surge on the north side and Nantucket to hit two to three feet.

Will Hurricane Lee get stronger?

Probably not, according to the NHC, whose meteorologists say the storm will slowly weaken as it hits the colder waters while heading north, but that the system will “remain a large and powerful hurricane.” 

CBS News reports that the odds are about 2/3 against any U.S. landfall and a 1/3 chance of landfall along the northeast U.S. coast this weekend.

"Realistically, this looks like a Nova Scotia landfall (as it has all along) with a healthy chance (~25%) of a down east Maine landfall on Saturday/early Sunday," CBS News senior weather and climate producer David Parkinson said. By that point, it will have weakened to a tropical or post-tropical storm.

What’s the Impact to Boston and New England from Hurricane Lee?

It appears the hurricane will be closest to the area on Saturday, however Torry Dooley, a local NWS meteorologist told that hazardous marine conditions will get here even earlier by Thursday or early Friday. 

Areas of southeastern Massachusetts, the North Shore and west of Boston toward MetroWest could see gusts of 40 miles per hour.

What You Can Do to Prepare for Hurricane Lee

First, don’t plan any maritime activities for the weekend. This is not the time to go sailing, unless reports change, or do any boat travel in the next 24 hours. 

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) recommends that people who may be impacted by storms like this make an emergency kit with food, water and other essentials, prepare for power outages and sign up for alerts and updates.

If you’re close to the water, make sure you have a safety plan and are stocked up on batteries, drinking water and other necessities. 

The NHC has a regularly updated Hurricane Lee tracker, that has new information several times a day. There, you can follow the path of the storm as it continues to move northwest.

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