(KXAN) — More and more we are linking weather words to parts of the country where they normally don’t fit. This happened in August when Hurricane Hilary made its approach to Southern California. Hilary was a tropical storm when it made landfall over the northern Baja California Peninsula, maintaining tropical storm status as it crossed into southern California.

CATHEDRAL CITY, CALIFORNIA - AUGUST 20: A car is partially submerged in floodwaters as Tropical Storm Hilary moves through the area on August 20, 2023 in Cathedral City, California. Southern California is under a first-ever tropical storm warning as Hilary impacts parts of California, Arizona and Nevada. All California state beaches have been closed in San Diego and Orange counties in preparation for the impacts from the storm which was downgraded from hurricane status. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
Flooding in Cathedral City on August 20, 2023 from T.S. Hilary. Courtesy: Getty Images

Tropical weather systems are rare for SoCal but they could happen. But, on the whole, they are not synonymous.

It is rare for a tropical storm/hurricane to maintain its strength and tropical characteristics due to the cooler waters of the Pacific Ocean along with the prevailing trade winds that blow from east to west.

Our other ocean saw this nearly one year ago when former Hurricane Fiona made landfall in Nova Scotia on Sept. 24, 2022. Power was knocked out to more than 500,000 customers. Even as a post-tropical storm, winds still exceeded 60 mph. Downed trees and flooding were part of the damage left behind. This is considered to be one of Canada’s largest storms to make landfall.

This storm was responsible for one person who was killed in Newfoundland due to the storm surge that swept homes into the Atlantic Ocean.

SYDNEY, NOVA SCOTIA - SEPTEMBER 24:  A tree sits against power lines and a home after Post-Tropical Storm Fiona hit on September 24, 2022 in Sydney, Nova Scotia on Cape Breton Island in Canada. Formerly, Hurricane Fiona, the storm is one of the strongest Canadas Atlantic Coast has seen in years. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Damage in Sydney, Nova Scotia on 9/24/2022 from Post T.S. Fiona (Courtesy: Getty Images)

A post-tropical storm is one that doesn’t retain sufficient tropical characteristics to be considered a tropical cyclone. But they are still capable of dropping heavy rain and producing high winds.

Tropical weather systems and Canada are not normally linked together

So, where are we headed with this? Simple. Our recent weathercasts have included updates on the current Hurricane Lee. The hurricane, once a Category 5, is moving to the north-northwest at 9 mph over the open waters of the Atlantic. It will enter the Gulf of Maine (did you know there’s a Gulf of Maine?) Saturday.

The latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center continues to indicate a fairly consistent path over the Atlantic. There is uncertainty on the exact location of where Lee will hit but Down East Maine is being suggested. It’s called Down East because sailors from western ports sailed downwind toward the east.

What is more certain, however, is that there will be beach erosion, coastal surf, and high winds. Wind gusts of 40 to 60 mph are being forecast. Officials in Maine are concerned about trees toppling due to the strong wind gusts and saturated soils.

Projected path of Category 2 Hurricane Lee (9/13/2023)

Of course, it won’t be a hurricane or a tropical storm when it does hit but the occurrence is rare regardless of what it is when it does hit.

Tropical storms rarely occur because the ocean temperatures at the surface from eastern Massachusetts northward are generally too cool to support a major tropical cyclone which are hurricanes that reach Category 3 (winds of 111 mph and higher). Maine’s cold coastal ocean temperatures rarely rise above 60°, making it less likely for tropical weather systems to affect it.

The last time a hurricane did hit our 23rd state was Hurricane Bob in August 1991. It caused widespread damage and power outages from the mid-coast southward between Aug. 19 and 20, 1991. This storm was responsible for three fatalities. Two people drowned and one was electrocuted.

Tropical weather systems and Maine/New England are not normally linked together. But, as our climate continues to warm, maybe one day they will.