Hurricane Lee threatens to bring flooding to New England

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  • Rain from Lee could be heavy in parts of New England and Atlantic Canada.
  • How far this threat extends into New England depends on Lee’s path.
  • Areas from coastal Maine to southeastern Massachusetts have the best chance of seeing at least some heavy rain.
  • New England and the Northeast are dealing with flash flooding this week and a very wet summer.
  • Ground wet from recent heavy rains can increase the risk of trees and power lines being toppled by the wind.

Hurricane Lee could bring more heavy rain to parts of New England that have been dealing with flash flooding for most of this week, and that could heighten the risk of downed trees and power lines from its winds.

(More: Complete Hurricane Lee forecast | Tracking maps)

There’s no room for more rain. Parts of the northeast have been hit by round after round of locally heavy rain since last Friday.

In New England, it caused devastating flooding in Leominster, Massachusetts, on Monday. Flash flooding also occurred this week in Hartford, Providence and other parts of the Boston metro area.

This means that the ground is saturated and cannot absorb any additional heavy rainfall. Soil moisture currently reaches the 90th percentile and above in mid-September from Maine to Connecticut and Rhode Island, according to a NASA analysis.

It was also one of the wettest summers in 129 years in New England. Only 1955 had a wetter summer in Boston than 2023, in records dating back to 1872.

Lee’s rain footprint depends on its path. Rain should start falling from Lee late Friday night, continue into Saturday, and then taper off Sunday morning.

While some outer rain bands may cycle through, on occasion, heavy rainfall should occur with the lee to the north and west of its center path.

If this center tracks far enough west as it approaches southern New England, it could bring heavy rain to at least eastern New England, including Boston and Providence, not to mention much of Maine.

If the center does not track farther west, heavy rain may not fall over much of southern New England, with the bulk of it pushed into Maine and parts of Atlantic Canada.

Wherever this heavy rain from Lee occurs, it will likely result in significant flash flooding, especially given the saturated ground mentioned earlier.

In areas of Lee’s storm surge, this will also increase flooding problems, especially at high tides on Friday and Saturday night.


How recent and expected rains may exacerbate wind effects: It may seem strange, but this wet scenario will also increase the risk of damage from wind from the lee.

First, it is easier for trees and power lines to fall in wet, wet ground than in dry ground.

Secondly, since it is still mid-September, the trees still have their leaves. This means that the tree has more room for wind to compress it, compared to, say, the middle of winter.

Add the weight of these rain-soaked leaves, New England’s relatively dense tree cover and Lee’s large wind field, and you get the formula for larger-scale tree destruction.

It will take lower than normal winds to bring down trees and power lines.

(The lines above show the potential for tropical storm-force winds (at least 39 mph) and when they could first arrive, according to the National Hurricane Center’s latest forecast.)

What should you do:

-Watch for flash flood areas (and coastal flooding) and do not drive into flooded areas. Turn around and find another way.

– Take shelter in a sturdy building and avoid driving during the height of the storm.

– Beware of the danger of falling trees, limbs, and power lines.

-Be prepared for the possibility of a power outage that may last for several hours or a few days.

Jonathan Erdmann is a senior meteorologist at and has been covering national and international weather since 1996. His lifelong love of meteorology began with a close encounter with a tornado as a child in Wisconsin. He studied physics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, then completed a master’s degree working with dual polarization radar and lightning data at Colorado State University. Extreme and strange weather are his favorite subjects. Contact him on X (formerly Twitter), Threads And Facebook.

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment, and the importance of science in our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

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