Hurricane Fiona: Warnings issued for Atlantic Canada

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As Hurricane Fiona continues to speed toward Atlantic Canada, Emergency Management Offices (EMOs) across the region are working with local partners to help keep residents safe during the storm.

NEW SCOTIA

In a live press conference Friday, Jason Mew, the director of the incident management division for the Nova Scotia EMO, says he expects the storm to be very severe and urges everyone to be prepared.

He says NS EMO activated the provincial coordination center at 8 a.m. Friday

“All of our key partners – municipalities, provincial departments, key federal stakeholders and critical infrastructure partners – they will be in our op-centre and will prioritize restorations and look at these impacts,” he said, adding that wildland fire teams have also been activated.

Mew says steps have also been taken to protect those living without a home.

“We’ve had municipal and provincial officials reach out to those who are living hard, and they’ve set up various comfort centers and shelters,” he said.

Mew says transportation is available to bring people to the shelters, where he says hot food will be available.

Nova Scotia Power (NSP) storm manager Matt Drover says crews at the utility are preparing for major outages.

He says at this stage it is difficult to say how long any outages may last.

“But rest assured, we’re doing everything we can to get people staged around the province to restore power as quickly as possible,” Drover said.

He says once the storm is over, NSP crews will go out to assess any damage and to get a better understanding of how long it might take to get power back online.

“So really it’s getting the crews out in the field to understand the level of damage,” Dover said.

As far as priorities for restoring power in Nova Scotia, Drover says crews’ first focus will be on downed lines and any emergency situations.

“And then we will focus on our transmission system, work very closely with the EMO and work to ensure that when the transmission system is restored, we focus on hospitals and public health areas like that.”

Once power is restored to essential services, Drover says NSP will move into communities, sub-communities and individual houses to bring power back online.

Erica Fleck, emergency management division chief at Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency, says some areas, such as the Halifax boardwalk and Peggy’s Cove lighthouse, will be closed and barricaded to keep people out of the water.

“We’re reminding residents and asking them not to go there, and again, to the Lawrencetown area where the waves and the wave watchers tend to come out. It’s going to be really unsafe, as well as any area near the water,” Fleck said .

Christina Lamey, communications officer for the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, says she hopes Center 200 in Sydney will open Friday night to serve as an evacuation center for residents.

“Especially for residents who may feel unsafe from the storm, down on the southern coast of our regional municipality,” she said.

Lamey says a homeless shelter on Townsend Street in central Sydney will be open at emergency capacity.

“So for those who are not residents, ideally this is where we would direct those residents to go,” Lamey said.

She adds that residents should prepare for flooding and very high and damaging winds.

“In general, it’s a blanket of hurricane strength across the region,” Lamey said. “It’s obviously a threat to anyone who has big trees around their homes that are right on the coast.”

PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND

During a press conference Friday afternoon, Prince Edward Island officials continued to advise residents to be prepared for the inclement weather.

“We’re in the last few hours before we really start to see the beginning of Fiona, so if there are any last minute things to get or do, I suggest you do them now,” PEI Safety Minister Darlene Compton said during live press conference.

Compton says as tempting as it may be, residents should stay indoors during the storm and not go outside to get photos and videos.

“Tonight, and overnight, and tomorrow, some people may be curious and want to get closer to look at the storm. My message is simple: don’t,” she said.

“Don’t go near the water, don’t put yourself and others at risk, it’s dangerous. Then you may need emergency help and our first responders will come and help, but our resources really need to be focused on , where we need them.”

After Fiona, Compton says provincial crews and others will be on the ground as soon as it’s safe to assess the damage.

“As we’ve been saying for the last few days, this storm is going to affect us and we’re going to see damage. Our crews will be out, as well as firefighters, conservation officers and our community organizations that will be supporting our province and residents,” said Compton.

Compton adds that the province will have an online form launched Sunday for residents to report any damage.

“Islanders will also be our eyes and ears,” she said.

https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en/news/reporting-road-problems-during-hurricane-fiona

Compton says a phone number will also be made available Sunday for residents without internet to call and report damage.

Tanya Mullally, with the PEI EMO, says islanders should expect significant rainfall and “winds that we haven’t experienced before.”

“We could see more than 120 to 130 kilometers per hour for an extended period,” she said.

Because of the strong winds, Mullally says a major storm surge is likely.

“Most notably in the northern side of the province and all the low-lying areas,” she said.

“But we could also see impacts on other areas of the coast, not just on the north side. So I wouldn’t want anyone to think they’re out of harm’s way,” she said.

Mullally is urging islanders in areas that have previously experienced storm surges and flooding to secure their belongings and seek higher ground if necessary.

“So you can ensure that you, your family and your friends stay safe,” she said.

On Thursday, the province raised its emergency preparedness to level 2.


This is a developing story and will be updated.

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