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Hurricane Lee expected to bring strong winds, coastal flooding to Cape Cod & Islands

Satellite imagery of Hurricane Lee from Friday morning
Courtesy National Weather Service
Satellite imagery of Hurricane Lee from Friday morning

The Cape and Islands will start feeling the effects of Hurricane Lee Friday night.

That’s according to the National Weather Service. The Service has put out Tropical Storm Warnings for most of Massachusetts' coastline, as well as the Cape and Islands.

Strong winds are expected in the region and a Coastal Flood Warning is in effect from Saturday at midnight until 2pm.

National Weather Service Meteorologist Kristie Smith said the region will see the worst conditions sometime after Friday at 8pm through Saturday at noon.

“This is really the Cape & Islands’ storm compared to some of the other storms that have passed southern New England. We’re thinking that max gusts will be 50 – 60 mph primarily on the outer Cape and Nantucket," she said.

Smith said the high winds Lee is likely to bring are similar to nor’easters the region has seen in the past.

“If you recall previous nor’easter events we’ve had in the winter, we often will see that kind of wind — just because this is a tropical system, it is a little bit of a different hazard. But these aren’t winds that are atypical for Cape Cod for other storm events that we see at other times of the year.”

Smith says that storm surge is forecast to be about 1 - 3 feet, and the tides are in our favor.

“Fortunately, Lee will be coming in with the low tide, which means the storm surge isn't as much of an issue as if this was coming in directly with the morning or afternoon high tides, so we’re kind of getting lucky with that.”

Smith said as of Friday morning, rain totals for the region were expected to fall between 1 - 2 inches.

"That gradient is going to be pretty sharp so places like Chatham or the island of Nantucket may see values on the upper bound of that, where if you go to the Cape Cod Canal you may have well less than an inch of rain."

As of Friday morning, Lee is a Category 1 hurricane expected to make landfall in Nova Scotia.

Lee’s center is expected to pass about 150 – 200 miles off the coast of Cape Cod sometime Saturday morning.

Brian Engles is an author, a Cape Cod local, and a producer for Morning Edition.