(NEW YORK) — Hurricane Lee, a Category 1 storm churning in the Atlantic Ocean, is bringing dangerous rip currents to the East Coast before heading to New England, where a hurricane watch is in effect.
The winds and rain will reach Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Maine by the weekend.
Latest headlines: -Lee passes Bermuda, gets closer to New England -Maine governor declares state of emergency -Tropical storm warnings extended along New England coast -What to expect in New England
Here’s how the news is developing. All times Eastern.
Sep 15, 6:00 AM EDT Lee passes Bermuda, gets closer to New England
Hurricane Lee passed to the west of Bermuda late Thursday night, bringing wind gusts of up to 60 mph to the British island territory.
As of 5 a.m. ET on Friday, the eye of the storm was located about 215 miles northwest of Bermuda and 490 miles south of Nantucket, Massachusetts, according to the National Weather Service.
Lee is currently a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained wind speeds of 85 mph. The storm is a wide cyclone with tropical storm winds extending almost 320 miles from the center.
Lee is forecast to continue moving way from Bermuda and get closer to New England by Friday night, according to the National Weather Service.
ABC News’ Max Golembo
Sep 14, 5:55 PM EDT Maine governor declares state of emergency
Maine Gov. Janet Mills declared a state of emergency in anticipation of Hurricane Lee.
Mills also requested that President Joe Biden issue a preemptive Presidential Emergency Disaster to help facilitate federal resources and funds.
“We continue to strongly urge Maine people – particularly those Downeast – to exercise caution and to take steps to ensure they have what they need to stay safe as the storm draws closer,” Mills said in a statement.
Central Maine Power (CMP) and Versant, two utilities that operate in the state, are preparing for possible power outages and will be monitoring the grid closely, according to the governor.
Sep 14, 5:45 PM EDT Tropical storm warnings extended along New England coast
The center of Hurricane Lee is currently about a couple hundred miles west of Bermuda, where a wind gust of 52 mph was reported, and 665 miles south of Nantucket, Massachusetts, according to the latest tracking update.
Lee remains a Category 1 storm with sustained winds of 85 mph.
A tropical storm warning has been extended up the New England coast and now covers areas from Massachusetts to Maine.
A tropical storm watch along the Rhode Island coast and a storm surge watch for Nantucket have been canceled, officials said.
A hurricane watch remains in effect for portions of the coast of Maine and into Nova Scotia.
ABC News’ Daniel Peck
Sep 14, 2:36 PM EDT What to expect in New England
Hurricane Lee, now a Category 1 storm, is gradually weakening as it churns north through the Atlantic Ocean.
Lee is now about 710 miles south of Nantucket, Massachusetts, and is bringing rain and gusty winds to Bermuda.
Over the next two days, Lee will continue to weaken, but will pick up speed as it moves north, parallel to the East Coast.
The rough surf, big waves and dangerous rip currents will persist across a large swath of East Coast beaches through Saturday.
The latest forecast shows Lee’s strongest winds staying offshore, so any notable wind impacts will be confined to areas right along the coast.
Rain could start along the New England coast Friday night into Saturday morning. Major flooding is not expected.
The majority of any rain or wind impacts for southeastern New England will be Saturday morning through early Saturday afternoon.
By Saturday evening, rain and winds will be slamming Maine. But most, if not all, impacts from Lee will be over in Maine by mid-morning on Sunday.
A hurricane watch is in effect for portions of the coast of Maine and into Nova Scotia, however, this could be canceled given the diminishing likelihood of any hurricane-force winds on land.