High winds and heavy seas are expected to arrive in eastern Maine Friday night as Hurricane Fiona approaches landfall in eastern Nova Scotia.
Wind gusts of up to 55 mph could arrive along the coast between Eastport and Castine around 9 p.m., and then to move further inland to Bangor and as far north as Van Buren as the storm advances. The Category 4 storm is expected to gradually weaken as it approaches Atlantic Canada.
Sustained wind speeds of between 15 and 25 mph are expected throughout Hancock, Penobscot and Washington counties and in eastern Aroostook County, according to the National Weather Service.
Vanessa Corson, spokesperson for Maine Emergency Management Agency, said the storm has potential to cause widespread power outages. Even in the mountains of northwestern Maine, winds gusts as high as 45 mph might bring tree limbs down onto power lines.
“It’s a common myth that hurricanes affect only the coast,” Corson said. “Just because you don’t live on the coast doesn’t mean you won’t be affected.”
A storm watch beginning at midnight also has been issued from Schoodic Point east to the Canadian border. Gusts up to 57 mph and sustained wind speeds between 23 and 34 mph are forecast for Maine’s far eastern coast for most of Saturday. Wave heights could reach 12 feet offshore in eastern Maine and 7 feet closer to shore along the entire coast.
Richard Clark, the fire chief and harbormaster for Eastport, said boat owners were moving their boats to the protected marina behind the city’s breakwater pier. The National Weather Service has cautioned mariners to stay out of harm’s way and to secure their boatsfor severe conditions.
“Prepare for the worst and hope for the best,” Clark said.
In Acadia National Park, park staff are monitoring the storm’s approach and are prepared to close certain areas to visitor access if conditions get dangerous, according to Sean Bonnage, a spokesman for the park.
Heavy surf along Acadia’s rugged shore often draws visitors who want to see big waves crashing on the rocks, but sometimes visitors get too close to the dangerous water.
A New York girl drowned in August 2009 when a large wave crashed over people gathered along Ocean Drive to see heavy surf generated by Hurricane Bill. Just two weeks ago, a Massachusetts woman was dragged into the water in Acadia and later rescued when she was watching waves churned up by Hurricane Earl.
“We’re expecting high winds, heavy surf, and rip currents,” Bonnage said. “Visitors should be aware of their surroundings and respect the power of the ocean, as ‘sneaker’ or ‘rogue’ waves are likely with this storm event.”
In Canada, a tropical storm warning has been issued for southwest Nova Scotia and for New Brunswick all the way to the Maine border. A hurricane warning has been issued for most of Nova Scotia and western Newfoundland.