As Hurricane Dorian heads for Atlantic Canada, special measures are being put in place to help reduce its impact on the coastal provinces.
Dorian is expected to spin into the Maritimes this weekend as either a Category 1 hurricane or a strong tropical storm, churning out sustained winds up to 130 km/h.
It’s supposed to hit Nova Scotia Saturday afternoon and make its way through the province over the following 12 hours.
Karen Hutt, president and CEO of Nova Scotia Power, said the utility company has assembled a support team of “upwards of a thousand people.”
“That’s a combination of power line technicians — several of those would be external contractors that we’re bringing in from from Nova Scotia, from New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario,” she said, adding that forestry crews and damage assessors will also be on hand.
“That should give you an indication of the level of seriousness for which we’re taking this.”
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She said some contractors had headed to the southern U.S. to help with restorations, but since Dorian didn’t hit that region as badly as expected, those crews are returning to Canada.
Hutt said Nova Scotia Power will have crews in position to respond to outages as soon as the conditions are safe enough.
She said Nova Scotians should expect to lose power.
“I’d be hesitant to try to be specific … but there’s no question that once you start to see forecasts that call for winds that are higher than 100 km/h, you can anticipate outages,” she said.
While Nova Scotia is expecting some of the worst weather, the other Atlantic provinces aren’t off the hook.
In New Brunswick, Fredericton could receive up to 50 millimetres of rain, and Saint John and Moncton could see close to 100 millimetres. Most areas will experience tropical storm-force winds.
Geoffrey Downey, a spokesperson for the New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization, said the province is working with local emergency services and the Canadian Hurricane Centre to prepare.
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Prince Edward Island is bracing for wind gusts as high as 120 km/h and over 100 millimetres of rain. The centre of the storm is forecast to pass off the eastern end of P.E.I. by early Sunday morning.
The province’s EMO said it’s been in touch with municipalities to make sure they’re prepared, and that it’s also been busy on social media trying to reach the general public.
Dorian is also expected to have varied effects in Newfoundland and Labrador, ranging from high winds and heavy rain in some places to a slightly above average rainy day in the capital.
By the time it hits Canada’s easternmost province overnight Saturday into Sunday, it is expected to downgrade from tropical status to post-tropical — a far cry from the Category 5 storm that rocked the Bahamas earlier this week.
Erica Fleck, district chief of emergency management for Halifax Regional Fire & Emergency, said coastal communities are the most at risk this weekend with high winds and heavy rain.
She said everyone should take down any items outside that could fly away with the wind.
“What we’d like to do is remind citizens at this time to take any flying object or debris that could be found around their house such as flower pots, lawn chairs, umbrellas,” she said.
“If they could take that stuff and put it away in their sheds and other protected areas, that would go a long way from things smashing through windows and flying, making damage to cars and things like that.”
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