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Newfoundland braces for tropical storm Leslie to make landfall

Hurricane Leslie is pictured in this September 6, 2012 NASA handout satellite image as the storm headed east of Bermuda. Leslie was downgraded to a tropical storm September 7, but was expected to regain hurricane strength before passing by Bermuda.


The centre of tropical storm Leslie will almost certainly make landfall Tuesday in Newfoundland, though precisely where is still up for debate, the Canadian Hurricane Centre said Monday.

Leslie could touch down somewhere near the Burin Peninsula as a hurricane or a strong tropical storm, depending on its wind speed, the centre said in its latest storm bulletin.

Forecaster Bob Robichaud said the difference in wind speed "may be only a few kilometres an hour." The biggest concern is Leslie's sheer size.

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The storm's circulation is 800 kilometres in diameter and its effects are expected to be widespread. "We could see gusts up to 80 kilometres an hour even in the Cape Breton area," Mr. Robichaud said from Halifax. "To the east of the track, which would be over the Avalon Peninsula of Newfoundland, we could see gusts over 100 kilometres an hour."

Weather warnings are in place for Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island as Leslie tracks toward Canada's East Coast.

The sprawling storm was located about 590 kilometres northeast of Bermuda by mid-morning.

Mr. Robichaud said Leslie is gaining strength as it moves over warm waters, but its massive size may prevent it from reaching hurricane status.

"If it was a smaller storm, there would most definitely be strengthening and we'd almost certainly have a hurricane at landfall," he said.

"But given the size of the storm, it takes a lot more to spin it up."

The nasty weather hit Atlantic Canada long before Leslie's anticipated arrival.

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The hurricane centre said a trough of low pressure had already dumped 100 millimetres of rain on parts of western and central Nova Scotia by Monday morning, with more yet to come as Leslie approaches.

The Mounties in Nova Scotia are warning drivers to slow down after receiving report of localized flooding on some roads.

The storm's outer bands buffeted Bermuda on Sunday, causing some power outages and littering streets with tree branches and other debris. There was no major damage or injuries.

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