After starting the day with 60 mph winds and 17 mph forward speed, Leslie strengthened to near-hurricane strength 70 mph winds as it sped toward Newfoundland at 40 mph into the night. The storm's center was about 350 miles southwest of Cape Race and was expected to move across the province's southeastern region early Tuesday, the National Hurricane Center said in its 11 p.m. EDT advisory.
A hurricane watch was in effect for Newfoundland from Stones Cove to Charlottetown, the center said.
A tropical storm warning was issued for Newfoundland from Indian Harbor to Triton.
Leslie also was expected to transform to an extra-tropical, frontal cyclone, as it approaches the Canadian Maritimes, the National Hurricane Center said.
Tropical storm-force winds extend outward up to 230 from Leslie's center.
Swells along the U.S. and Canadian eastern seaboards and Bermuda could cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions, the center said.
Leslie is expected to generate between 2-4 inches of rain across Newfoundland, with isolated pockets receiving up to 6 inches.