Tropical storm warning: REMO urges preparedness as Arthur approaches

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The latest track of hurricane Arthur, expected to hit Nova Scotia on July 5.

As Arthur continues to bear down on Nova Scotia, Brian Desloges is urging residents to make sure they’re prepared for the worst and hope for the best.

The Kings County REMO will be in Ontario when Arthur is expected to hit Nova Scotia, but Desloges says it’s absolutely essential to be prepared for what could happen when the storm hits Nova Scotia on July 5.

Right now, the path the storm is taking seems to indicate that the biggest impact will be on the south coast of the province, but Kings County and most of Nova Scotia are now under a tropical storm watch. According to the 8:30 a.m. update from Environment Canada, tropical storm-force winds of 60 kilometres per hour, gusting to 90 km/h over exposed areas, are possible from early on July 5 to that evening.

“From Liverpool, right to Ecum Secum, they could experience heavy winds, but here in Kings County and the Valley area, we’ll likely just see rain,” said Desloges, who is keeping a close eye on the forecast.

“We’re watching right now and we’re in constant communication by fax, email and phone with Environment Canada and the Emergency Preparedness Office.”

When Hurricane Juan struck on Sept. 29, 2003, it made landfall in the Halifax area as a category 2 hurricane and cut a swath through Colchester and Pictou counties before heading towards Prince Edward Island, leaving knocked over trees and damaged homes in its path. There was very little impact in the Valley due to that storm, however.

Desloges doesn’t believe Nova Scotia will experience as intense a storm this time.

“For one thing, Juan was a hurricane when it hit Nova Scotia, and Arthur is expected to be a tropical storm when it arrives,” he said.

A lot of things could change between now and then, however. Initially, it was believed that Arthur would remain a category one storm, but it’s since become more intense, up to category two. When Arthur collides with a low pressure trough from the Great Lakes today, as it approaches Nova Scotia, it could also change the intensity and direction of the storm.

“We’re experiencing that low pressure trough where I am today and it’s just gray skies,” said Desloges.

 

Expect wind, rain

It’s most likely that Kings County and the Valley area will see rainfall, said Desloges. Rivers and streams are in “summer mode,” he said, and can handle significant rainfall.

“It will definitely be a day when you want your rubber boots,” he said, adding that a “good soaking” would likely help the agricultural sector.

Too much rain could cause problems, however.

“If we got a lot of rain, we would have to worry about field erosion,” he said.

Farmers might also have to worry about crop destruction if Kings County is hit by intense rain and winds.

High winds could also wreak havoc on trees. The leaves act like a sail and can cause trees to come down, which could have an impact on power lines.

“That’s what happened with Juan. If the storm was in November, when the leaves are off the trees, it wouldn’t have had as big an impact,” he said.

It’s not uncommon for this area to experience high winds during winter, Desloges added, but the summer is an entirely different story.

Nova Scotia Power says it has been monitoring the storm for days and putting plans in place.

“We have as many Nova Scotia Power and contract line crews available as we have had for any recent storm of this size. We have an experienced team ready to respond,” said Greg Blunden, EVP of customer service.

 

Get prepared

Desloges is urging all area residents to have a hurricane preparedness kit close at hand this weekend. Kits should include enough drinking water for at least 72 hours for each person in your home, food that won’t spoil and batteries for flashlights.

He also reminds residents that food can spoil in refrigerators in a power outage in four hours or a freezer after 12, but it can happen even faster this time of year.

“In the heat, bacteria will grow on food even faster,” he said.

“The reason we say people should prepare for 72 hours is because it can take some time to get to everyone.”

He urged residents to monitor local weather forecasts so they’re aware of what to expect.

More storm tips can be found at http://novascotia.ca/just/EMO/prepare_for_an_emergency/risks/hurricanes.asp

Organizations: Environment Canada, Kings County REMO, Emergency Preparedness Office Nova Scotia Power

Geographic location: Nova Scotia, Kings, Ontario Liverpool Ecum Secum Halifax Colchester Pictou Prince Edward Island Great Lakes

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