2019-09-11

Brace yourselves: Hurricane Dorian arrives in N.S. September 7

by Charles Mandel

The centre of Hurricane Dorian could be close to Halifax around 9 p.m. on the evening of September 7, according to warning preparedness meteorologist Bob Robichaud of the Canadian Hurricane Centre, during a technical briefing for media.

The Category 1 hurricane is expected to bring "severe winds and torrential downpours," according to the forecaster.

"This one is certainly going to be up there in terms of impacts," Robichaud said.

He's predicting a fairly "nasty afternoon" as Dorian moves into the province, with the strongest impact of the storm overnight Saturday.

Robichaud warned that with Dorian's potential wind speeds of up to 120 km/hr "uprooted trees, broken trees" could cause power outages. "That's going to be the major impact."

The forecaster said rain amounts could vary from 50 to 100 mm, with amounts potentially reaching 150 mm in some regions.

Dorian should approach the Atlantic coast late afternoon on Saturday.

Robichaud noted that Hurricane Juan in late September of 2003 came with winds up to 176 km/hr. Dorian's won't be as strong, but the forecaster pointed out that in terms of tracking there could be some similarity with Juan. However, Dorian's winds could extend over a larger area than Juan, causing a great impact over a larger area, Robichaud said.

Nova Scotia's South Shore coastline can expect some "pretty significant waves in the late afternoon toward the evening.," with waves potentially crashing as high as 15 metres.

The most recent hurricane to make landfall in Nova Scotia was Earl in 2010.

Robichaud stopped short of blaming the climate crisis for Dorian's power, saying that the warming water it might encounter off Nova Scotia's shore that could help fuel the storm is often found there at this time of year.

Nova Scotia Power is mobilizing personnel and resources in advance of Hurricane Dorian's expected arrival in Nova Scotia Saturday.

"We have been tracking Dorian closely and preparing for several days," said Karen Hutt, President & CEO of Nova Scotia Power. "We know this type of weather can cause fallen trees on lines and damage to our equipment, resulting in outages. We are mobilizing close to 1,000 personnel to respond to Hurricane Dorian, and we will be ready to safely restore power to customers as quickly as possible."

Nova Scotia Power activated its Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) at noon September 6 to plan and manage its storm response. The EOC is the nerve centre for outage restoration planning and response and is staffed with employees representing all aspects of the company. Nova Scotia Power will operate its EOC until the last customer is safely restored.

"Our preparations include bringing in several hundred power line technicians from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Ontario and Quebec," Hutt said. "As well, we will have forestry crews, planners, damage assessors, engineers, supervisors, communication experts, and customer care representatives at the ready. Teams will be staged over the course of the day on Friday across the province to ensure we can mobilize our response as soon as it is safe to do so."

Crews will begin restoring power as soon as conditions are safe; when winds are gusting above 80 km/h, they have to make on-site assessments of whether to stand down for safety. Nova Scotia Power is coordinating closely with the Nova Scotia Emergency Management Office.

Cancellations along the South Shore began rolling in on September 5. They include moving the annual Fisher's Memorial Service in Lunenburg to September 15, and the cancellation of numerous events in Hubbards, including the farmer's market, and the closure Saturday evening of the Shore Club.

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