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Earl heading toward Atlantic, expected to lose speed

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • NEW: The storm is expected to lash southeastern Quebec
  • NEW: National Hurricane Center says Earl has become a "post-tropical" storm
  • A tropical storm warning remains for Burgeo to Boat Harbor, Newfoundland

(CNN) -- Earl became a post-tropical storm late Saturday night as it continued to lash parts of Canada with heavy winds and rainfall, the National Hurricane Center said.

As of 11 p.m. ET, the storm was moving northeast near 46 mph with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph. It was expected to hit southeastern Quebec and head into the Atlantic Ocean overnight, the hurricane center said.

Forecasters predict that the storm will decrease in speed and turn toward the north in the next 24 to 36 hours. The hurricane center said rains associated with Earl should decrease Saturday night across the region.

Canadian authorities had discontinued tropical storm warnings for Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and the Magdalen Islands, the hurricane center said. A tropical storm warning remained in effect for Burgeo westward to Boat Harbor, Newfoundland.

The storm raked Nova Scotia as it came ashore Saturday, bringing "severe tropical storm conditions" across a large part of the Canadian province.

Packing maximum winds of 70 miles per hour and moving at 40 mph, Earl slashed through the Canadian Maritimes after it slammed the U.S. Northeast. The strong tropical storm is creating havoc for motorists, vacationers, and homeowners. Videos sent to CNN iReports show a large tree falling into a yard, swaying trees, drenching rain and fierce winds.

Constable Meredith Darrah, spokeswoman for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Nova Scotia, said the rain and wind caused dangerous driving conditions all over the province, with vehicles hydroplaning over water-filled roads.

Nova Scotia emergency officials said there were power outages, downed lines, and trees, but casualties, accidents and structural damage has not been reported.

Darrah said authorities closed beaches and access to national parks so people don't go close to the water, especially those who want to look at big waves.

"We're trying to get the message out not to be on the roads," she said.

Nova Scotia Power said that as of 2 p.m. ET, more than 200,000 customers lost power in Nova Scotia, where nearly a million people live.

Midafternoon Saturday, a businessman in western Prince Edward Island declared "Earl is all done."

"It was not as bad as we thought it would be," said Robert Arsenault, owner of Arsenault's Fishmart, which features lobster and fresh fish.

Some lobstermen stayed home, but several ventured out for a catch midway through the fall season, said Arsenault. His business is currently selling the spiny creatures for $7 per pound ($6.73 USD) live or $7.50 ($7.21) cooked.

Dave McConnell, manager of United Bookstore in downtown Halifax said the storm isn't packing the heat Hurricane Juan did in 2003.

"It's very, very windy and it's raining hard," he said. "In town in Halifax, it's not that severe of a storm."

Patrick Doherty, owner of an Internet cafe in Halifax, said about 50 percent of nearby lights were out mid-afternoon, but power was returning. "I see people walking around," the Hydrostone Cafe proprietor said.

One major event, the Wharf Rat Rally -- a Canadian motorcycle rally in Digby, Nova Scotia -- won't be canceled and organizers plan to wait out the storm, said Glenn Dunn, chairman of the rally.

"We're expecting a few hours of rain and wind," he said before the storm made landfall, and he expected people to flock to the rally, which lasts through Monday, after the weather gets better. Some out-of-towners aren't used to such to the elements.

"We are used to weather here and people who are not are terrified," Dunn said.

He predicts that the rooms of those who choose to leave the rally will be snatched up by others traveling to the rally.

A storm surge is expected, with water levels continuing to rise above normal values along Nova Scotia's southern coast. Near the coasts, the surge will be accompanied by "large and destructive waves."

The storm is expected to bring 1 to 3 inches of rain over New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, with isolated amounts of 5 inches possible.

The worst has passed for the United States, but there are still residual effects. Large swells from Earl will continue to affect the Northeast coast, threatening to cause "dangerous surf conditions and rip currents" and 1 to 2 inches of rain can be expected in eastern Maine.

Craig Fugate, Federal Emergency Management Agency administrator, said that as Earl moved off the U.S. coast, all watches and warnings have been dropped.

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick lifted the state of emergency imposed because of Earl, saying the state's cape and islands "were spared a direct hit" and are "open for business this Labor Day weekend."

"We had very minimal impacts, including some 1,800 power outages, most of which have already been restored," he said.

He cautioned swimmers and boaters to be wary of rip currents.

And, train service along the Northeast Corridor is back to normal on Saturday, Amtrak said.

The company suspended all service between New York and Boston on Friday when a tree that fell outside the company's property in Connecticut damaged an electrical system.

CNN's Susan Candiotti, Ross Levitt, Phil Gast and Joe Sterling contributed to this report.