MACHIAS, Maine – It threatened to be the first hurricane in 17 years to make landfall in Maine. Instead, Kyle delivered little more than a glancing blow equivalent to that of a classic nor'easter.
Heavy rain pounded the nation's northeastern tip Sunday night as residents accustomed to winter blizzards hunkered down while the weakening storm moved through the Gulf of Maine and into the Canadian Maritimes.
Maine emergency responders braced for wind gusts as high as 60 mph and waves up to 20 feet, but the Category 1 hurricane took a turn to the east, weakening to a tropical storm as it made landfall in Nova Scotia and pressed northeastward toward New Brunswick.
On Monday, Kyle weakened to a post-tropical storm but 70 mph winds and heavy rains continued to buffet Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, leaving thousands without electricity. The storm moved north of Nova Scotia's Prince Edward Island.
In Maine, where residents are accustomed to nor'easters, the storm didn't impress.
"This was a run-of-the-mill storm. It had the potential to be a real problem and it all sort of went away. That shift to the east did wonders for Maine," said Michael Hinerman, director of the Washington County Emergency Management Agency.
A hurricane watch had been posted for Maine before it became clear that the state would be spared. A tropical storm warning was lifted late that night.
In Canada, the storm arrived on the eve of the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Juan, a Category 2 storm that killed two people and caused an estimated $100 million in damage. Canadian officials said Kyle's impact would not be as severe.
In Maine, as much as 7 inches of rain fell in three days along some coastal areas. Flood watches were lifted Sunday in southern Maine and New Hampshire as the rain let up, but remained in effect in eastern Maine.
Down East residents are accustomed to rough weather, but it most often comes in the winter when nor'easters howl along the coast. Maine hasn't had anything like a hurricane since Bob was downgraded as it moved into the state in 1991 after causing problems in southern New England.
Jesse Davis of Marshfield described the storm as being similar to a nor'easter "except we don't have to deal with the snow." He rode out the storm with his family at home after gassing up his vehicles and generator, taking in his deck furniture and filling up water jugs — just in case.
Taking no chances, many lobstermen moved their boats to sheltered coves, said Dwight Carver, a lobsterman on Beals Island. Some also moved lobster traps from shallow water.
"I'm sure we'll have a lot of snarls, a lot of mess, to take care of when it's done," Carver said. "It'll take us a few days to straighten things out."
In Lubec, the easternmost town in the U.S., town workers pulled up docks and fishermen moved boats across the harbor into Campobello Island, New Brunswick, which has coves and wharves that offer shelter.
Nova Scotia Power was reporting 12,000 outages in communities along the south shore, while New Brunswick Power said about 680 customers lost power in the Sussex area.
The preparations in Canada come exactly five years after hurricane Juan tore through the region as a powerful category 2 force storm, causing millions in damages to homes, boats and parks that lost thousands of trees. Juan killed two people and caused an estimated $100 million in damages.
"It's going to be pretty bad around here," Donnie Ross said as he hurried across the bow of his fishing vessel in Cape Sable Island, Nova Scotia. "We have a lot of boats that are worth a lot of money and if any of them let go it will smash the rest of them up."
Emergency officials in New Brunswick were concerned that people living inland were not taking the storm warnings seriously enough.
The deadliest storm to hit the Northeast was in 1938 when a hurricane killed 700 people and destroyed 63,000 homes on New York's Long Island and throughout New England. Other hurricanes that have hit Maine were Carol and Edna in 1954, Donna in 1960 and Gloria in 1985.