Hurricane Lee has claimed two victims in the US so far — a 51-year-old man who was killed by a falling tree branch in Maine on Saturday and a teenager who drowned off Florida earlier this week, according to reports.
The Maine resident was driving west along Route 1 near Prospect Street in Searsport when the limb smashed into his vehicle around 9 a.m. Saturday morning, Searsport Public Safety Director Brian Lunt told News Center Maine.
When police arrived at the scene, they found a large branch had partially landed on the roof of the car, Lunt said.
Responders attempted to extract the man, but their efforts were hindered by a power line that the branch had also taken down when it fell.
Central Maine Power shut the power off and crews were able to remove him from the vehicle, Lunt said.
The man was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead. His identity is being withheld pending family notification, officials said.
Authorities in Florida said they have found the body of a 15-year-old boy who vanished beneath rough surf after going into the water on Wednesday.
The Fernandina Beach Police Department told FoxWeather the teen was with two other people when he fell off a raft. The other two were assisted back to shore and taken to a local medical center as multiple agencies searched for the missing boy.
The group decided to go in the ocean despite multiple signs and red flags warning about the dangerous conditions.
“We have had extremely dangerous rip currents as forecasted by the weather service and feel the extreme conditions are associated with Hurricane Lee and the other storms in the Atlantic,” Ty Silcox, the fire chief of Fernandina Beach, told the outlet.
The post-tropical cyclone made its first official landfall on Long Island, Nova Scotia, with damaging 70 mph winds wiping out power for nearly 300,000 customers across both the U.S. and Canada without power, according to FoxWeather.
Some gusts were still topping 90 miles per hour on Saturday afternoon.
Conditions along the east coast began worsening Friday night, with massive waves and rip currents in the Mid Atlantic. The impact was felt from New Hampshire all the way to Canada by Saturday evening as the storm spanned nearly 400 miles.
Governors in Massachusetts and Maine both declared states of emergency ahead of the storm and activated National Guard members for an emergency response.
The storm is forecast to charge across the Bay of Fundy toward New Brunswick to make landfall again near the coastal city of St. John.
The latest deaths bring the total U.S. fatality count to 77 from events such as strong currents, high surf and rip currents this year, according to a NOAA database.