EASTPORT, Maine (AP) -- Heavy rain drenched Maine on Sunday and fishermen moved boats to shelter as Hurricane Kyle plowed northward across the Atlantic, triggering the state's first hurricane watch in 17 years.
Kyle could make landfall in the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia or New Brunswick sometime during the night or early Monday, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.
A hurricane watch was posted along the coast of Maine from Stonington, at the mouth of Penobscot Bay, to Eastport on the Canadian border, and for southwestern Nova Scotia, the center said. Tropical storm warnings were in effect from Stonington to the coasts of southern New Brunswick and southwest Nova Scotia.
There were no immediate plans for evacuations in Maine.
Near the Canadian border, residents along the rugged coast are accustomed to rough weather, but that usually comes in snowstorms rather than tropical systems, said Washington County Emergency Management Agency Director Michael Hineman.
"Down East we get storms with 50 to 60 mph winds every winter. Those storms can become ferocious," he said. Down East is the rugged, sparsely populated area from about Bar Harbor to the Canadian border.
Many lobstermen moved their boats to sheltered coves, said Dwight Carver, a lobsterman on Beals Island. Some also moved lobster traps from shallow water, but most were caught off-guard by the storm's short notice.
"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 on the waterfront and fishermen moved boats across the harbor into Campobello Island, New Brunswick, which has coves and wharves that offer shelter.
"We're getting prepared," said Lubec Town Administrator Maureen Glidden.
Heavy rain lashed the state Sunday for a third straight day. As much as 5.5 inches had already fallen along coastal areas. Flood watches were in effect for the southern two-thirds of New Hampshire and southern Maine through Sunday evening.
Authorities expect wind gusts in Maine to reach up to 60 mph and waves up to 20 feet, said Robert McAleer, Maine Emergency Management Agency director.
Residents of coastal islands were advised to evacuate if they depend on electricity for medical reasons, because ferry service was expected to be shut down Sunday, McAleer said. Power failures also were likely over the north coastal region of the state, he said.
At 11 a.m. EDT Sunday, Kyle was centered about 140 miles east-southeast of Nantucket, or about 355 miles southwest of Halifax, Nova Scotia, the National Hurricane Center said. It was moving toward the north-northeast at roughly 24 mph and expected to continue that track for the next day or so.
Kyle's maximum sustained wind was blowing at nearly 80 mph, with hurricane-force wind of at least 74 mph extending up to 70 miles out from the center.
However, it was expected to weaken as it moved over colder water and was expected to lose tropical characteristics on Monday, the hurricane center said.
Maine hasn't had a hurricane, or even a hurricane watch, since Bob was downgraded as it moved into the state in 1991 after causing problems in southern New England.
The deadliest storm to hit the region 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.
A hurricane watch means hurricane conditions, with wind of at least 74 mph, are possible within 36 hours. A tropical storm warning means conditions for that type of storm, with wind of 39 to 73 mph, are expected within the next 24 hours.
On the Net:
Nat'l Hurricane Center: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/
Environment Canada: http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/