Storm Lee has begun lashing the northeast United States and across the border in Canada, causing heavy rains and cutting power to tens of thousands.

Iran PressAmerica: Lee was downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone but severe conditions were predicted across parts of Massachusetts and Maine in the US, and hurricane conditions could hit the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, where the weakened storm was expected to make landfall later in the day.

Winds gushing at 130km/h (81 mph), coastal flooding, and heavy rains were already occurring in parts of the New England region in the US and Atlantic Canada, the US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in its latest advisory on Saturday.

Earlier, the Canadian Hurricane Center projected Lee would make landfall in Nova Scotia sometime after 3 p.m. ADT (18:00 GMT) or later in New Brunswick with winds below hurricane force.

Parts of coastal Maine could see waves up to 4.5 meters (15 feet) high crashing down, causing erosion and damage, and the strong gusts will cause power outages, said Louise Fode, a National Weather Service meteorologist. As much as 120mm (5 inches) of rain was forecast for eastern Maine, where a flash flood watch was in effect.

Tens of thousands of customers are without power from Maine to Nova Scotia.

Lee has been churning as a large hurricane over the Atlantic for more than a week, briefly threatening Bermuda but mostly harmless for anyone on land. It marks the second year in a row that such a powerful storm has reached Canada after Hurricane Fiona ripped into eastern Canada a year ago.