Hurricane Lee Treks North, Track to Determine Seacoast Impact
*This report has been updated with new information about the hurricane's impact*
Forecasters and emergency management teams are keeping a careful eye on the track of Hurricane Lee for its impact on the Seacoast region.
"Confidence has increased that it's going to come in pretty close proximity to the coast. So, we're looking at mostly coastal impacts with heavy rain potential, winds nearing tropical storm force winds, rough surf and rip current risk," National Weather Service meteorologist Stephen Baron in Gray, Maine, told Seacoast Current.
Baron expects the worst of the impacts to be Friday night and all day Saturday, especially in the eastern parts of Rockingham County and Strafford Counties, where there will be a sharp cutoff of the rain.
"It's really going to depend on the intensity and the exact track of the storm, which is a little uncertain at this time," Baron said late Wednesday morning. "We don't know how dramatic its pivot into the Gulf of Maine is going to be."
A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for the Seacoast between Cape Elizabeth, Maine, and the mouth of the Merrimack River Friday night through Saturday for 20 to 30-knot winds out of the northwest, with gusts to 65 knots. Waves heights could be 10-14 feet.
The pivot will determine how heavy the rain gets inland, and where that cutoff falls.
The track of the storm as of 2 p.m. Wednesday would put Lee due east of Cape Cod Saturday morning around 8 a.m., and in the Gulf of Maine approximately 12 hours late.
Prepare for strong winds & power outages
Residents and visitors should take time to prepare for strong winds and power outages, according to New Hampshire Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management Director Robert Buxton.
“Pay attention to local weather alerts and make sure everyone in your family knows your emergency plan and their roles. Check your emergency kit to ensure you have enough items for at least 72 hours. Secure any items outside your home, especially on the Seacoast," Buxton said.
Hampton Fire Chief Michael McMahon, who is also the town's Emergency Management Director, told Seacoast Current his department will be fully staffed Friday night and Saturday.
"We want to encourage people to stay off the beach and stay safe. Secure outdoor items and deck furniture, things like that, so they don't become projectiles and cause property or personal damage," McMahon said.
Portsmouth Fire Chief William McQuillen is also monitoring the storm. McMahon and McQuillen will be on a meeting with the state's Homeland Security & Emergency Management Office Wednesday afternoon to discuss further actions.