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Nova Scotians urged to prepare for Hurricane Fiona as powerful storm looms

Click to play video: 'Hurricane Fiona: Nova Scotia residents urged to be prepared as storm makes landfall' Hurricane Fiona: Nova Scotia residents urged to be prepared as storm makes landfall
Nova Scotians are being urged to get ready as the province awaits the arrival of Hurricane Fiona, which is expected to bring pounding rain, severe winds and storm surges to the province. In a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Jason Mew, the director of the province’s Emergency Management Office’s incident management division, had a simple message: be prepared – Sep 21, 2022

Nova Scotians are being urged to get ready as the province awaits the arrival of Hurricane Fiona, which is expected to bring pounding rain, severe winds and storm surges to the province.

In a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Jason Mew, the director of the province’s Emergency Management Office’s incident management division, had a simple message: be prepared.

Read more: Hurricane Fiona shaping up to be ‘potentially severe event’ for Atlantic Canada

“I cannot stress this enough … prepare today, continue to prepare tomorrow for a very intense event Friday evening into Saturday,” he said.

EMO is advising Nova Scotians to prepare by doing the following:

  • Having enough food and water for 72 hours;
  • Monitoring local media for updates;
  • Securing gates, doors and windows;
  • Moving yard furniture and securing trash cans, hanging plants and anything that can be picked up by wind;
  • Checking radio batteries;
  • Filling vehicles with gas and parking them away from trees;
  • Keeping pets inside;
  • Moving any kind of watercraft to high ground;
  • Ensuring personal and family safety;
  • Checking on neighbours;
  • Not leaving candles unattended.

Mew said it’s important that everyone takes the storm, which is expected to bring a lot of rain and strong winds to the region, seriously.

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“We will definitely see impacts from the storm,” he said.

“They’re going to vary depending on what part of the province you’re in, but definitely, now’s the time to make those preparations.”

Click to play video: 'N.S. businesses prepare for Hurricane Fiona’s arrival' N.S. businesses prepare for Hurricane Fiona’s arrival
N.S. businesses prepare for Hurricane Fiona’s arrival – Sep 21, 2022

Mew said EMO has been in contact with municipalities around the province to ensure comfort centres are ready, and asking them to reach out to people who may be living in tents and direct them to the appropriate resources.

Read more: Fiona strengthens into Category 4 hurricane as storm heads toward Bermuda

He said if the need arises, they can open additional shelters, which will be done through the Canadian Red Cross.

Ancel Langille, with the Canadian Red Cross, said when they open an emergency shelter in response to the storm, services will be available to anyone who shows up.

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He acknowledged the ongoing cost of living crisis and said a 72-hour emergency kit doesn’t have to be “extravagant.”

“When it comes to a personal preparedness kit, you’d be surprised at how many of these items you’d already have,” he said, listing off canned food, bottled water and pet supplies as examples.

“It is what is going to make you comfortable should you be without power for a few days, or should you be evacuated to an emergency shelter, and if that’s the case … food and other supplies will be provided to you there.”

Sean Borden, a storm lead with Nova Scotia Power, said the company has been watching the storm all week.

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He said so far, NSP has mobilized more than 500 field resources and will adjust their plans as needed in the coming days.

Borden said additional crews will also be sent to Cape Breton and northeastern parts of the province, where the storm is expected to be especially fierce, though the exact number has yet to be determined.

He noted that wind speeds will be “significant,” which may make trees fall into power lines, causing outages.

A ‘potentially severe event’

In an update Wednesday afternoon, Environment Canada said Fiona is expected to transition to a post-tropical storm Friday night as it approaches Sable Island in Nova Scotia.

It said Fiona will pass through eastern Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Saturday, before reaching the lower Quebec north shore and southeastern Labrador early Sunday.

Most of the impacted regions will experience hurricane-force winds, which will begin late Friday and continue on Saturday.

“Similar cyclones of this nature have produced structural damage to buildings. Construction sites may be particularly vulnerable,” it said. “Wind impacts will likely be enhanced by foliage on the trees, potentially causing prolonged utility outages.”

Read more: IN PHOTOS: Hurricane Fiona rips through Caribbean as storm tracks to Canada

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The storm is also expected to bring “significant” rainfall, especially to the north and west of Fiona’s track. Environment Canada says the highest rainfall amounts are likely for eastern Nova Scotia, southwestern Newfoundland and the Gulf of St. Lawrence region.

The forecast currently suggests widespread amounts of 100 to 200 millimetres, but more than 200 millimetres is “likely” closer to the path of Fiona.

As well, there’s potential for “rough and pounding surge” especially for parts of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Large waves will reach the eastern shore of Nova Scotia Friday night and build to more than 10 metres, Environment Canada said, adding that dangerous rip currents are “likely.”

“This storm is shaping up to be a potentially severe event for Atlantic Canada,” the statement said.

Canadian Hurricane Centre meteorologist Ian Hubbard told Global News earlier Wednesday that regardless of whether it’s classified as a post-tropical storm, or a hurricane, “we’re still going to see very significant impacts from this.”

Read more: Hurricane Fiona heads to Turks and Caicos after storm devastates Puerto Rico

“There’s going to be a lot of energy, a lot of rain, and a lot of wind associated with that, regardless of what the storm is categorized that at the time,” he said.

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“Even if you hear later on in the week that it’s no longer a hurricane, it doesn’t mean that things have gone away and we’re out of the water.”

Fiona was designated a Category 3 hurricane on Tuesday, and it was upgraded to Category 4 on Wednesday.

Across Puerto Rico, Fiona’s winds and rains left most people without power and half of the population without running water amid what officials called historic flooding.

The storm has been blamed for killing four people as it marches through the Caribbean. It was expected to squeeze past Bermuda later this week before picking up speed on its way to Atlantic Canada.

As of 3 p.m. AT, Fiona was 1,045 kilometres southwest of Bermuda, with maximum sustained winds at 213 km/h, moving northward at 15 km/h.

— with files from Karla Renic and The Canadian Press

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