Tropical storm Leslie has stalled hundreds of kilometres offshore in the Atlantic Ocean, but experts say there is a chance the weather system could hit Newfoundland by mid-week.

"Once it starts moving, then we'll have a better idea," says CBC meteorologist Jay Scotland. "There is a potential of Leslie making landfall in Newfoundland. Southeast Newfoundland could see potential heavy rains and strong winds on Wednesday."

Scotland says while he doesn't want people to panic, they should be prepared.


Tropical storm Leslie is likely to head toward Newfoundland. (NCAR)

The Canadian Hurricane Centre says it’s been hard to predict Leslie’s path because it's been stalled southeast of Bermuda, which has caused the storm to weaken and become disorganized.

"What we are watching is as it continues to move north, it will eventually reach warmer waters north of Bermuda," said Jean Marc Couturier with Environment Canada's Hurricane Centre.

"There is an opportunity for the system to pick up more energy and intensify and therefore, we are expecting it to regain its hurricane status."

Leslie's wind speeds are expected to reach up to 150 kilometres an hour at its peak.

Couturier says there's only about a 10 per cent chance Leslie will hit the Maritimes, moving instead into Newfoundland around mid-week.

Two storms approaching

Hurricane Michael is also expected to head into the same area. Couturier says the two likely will not merge, but rather Leslie is expected to overpower Michael and push it out of the area.

In St. John’s, city director of public works Paul Mackey said officials are not taking any chances.

'We are expecting it to regain its hurricane status.' —Jean Marc Couturier, with Environment Canada's Hurricane Centre

"[We have] sandbags in case we need them to control some flooding," Mackey said Friday. "Just preliminary at this stage, but we've already started that work."

Mackey warns that if Leslie does hit, wind may cause more damage than rain.

That’s what happened in September 2010 when Igor left thousands of people without power for days in eastern Newfoundland.

Meanwhile, rain has also been the main story in Central and Eastern Canada this weekend.

Much of southern Ontario, including Toronto, got drenched Saturday and up to 50 millimetres of rain is expected to deluge Ottawa, Montreal, parts of Quebec and the Maritimes through the weekend.

With files from The Canadian Press