Posted Thursday, September 22, 4:45pm
This update contains a Summary, Environment Canada info, HRM EMO update, NS EMO update, NS Power Update, and my previously shared crowd-shared list of preparation tips.
Environment Canada is now projecting Hurricane Fiona making landfall in Nova Scotia with some forecasting showing it making landfall as a Category 1 hurricane.
While forecasting shows the hurricane landing somewhere around Canso, experience shows major storms and hurricanes seem to ‘make up their minds’ once they are in sight of land, and some models show it curving west, moving the more significant impacts toward Halifax.
In addition to this, the storm front itself is very wide, so impacts should be expected along the entire Atlantic coast. It is important to be prepared.
The province intends to hold a briefing once a day for the next couple of days, and I will share updates when I receive them.
As always, help your neighbours, lend a hand, be kind, and be patient.
Continue to call 911 in an emergency. Call 311 for downed trees and flooding. Call NSPI for power for downed lines 877-428-6004.
As this is an evolving situation, it is always best to keep up to date via the official social media channels/website as well:
- Some great preparedness tips and updates are being shared by NS EMO ahead of Hurricane Fiona: https://www.facebook.com/EmergencyManagementOfficeNovaScotia / https://twitter.com/nsemo
- As the storm starts to impact municipal services – including information on sheltering locations, transit/waste service disruptions, etc. HRM staff will be actively updating this webpage: halifax.ca/severeweather. Keep an eye on municipal updates to share from the social channels as well: https://www.facebook.com/hfxgov
- Follow my emo twitter list here: https://twitter.com/WayeMason/lists/emo-yhz
Environment Canada Watch and Warning
Hurricane watch in effect for Halifax Metro and Halifax County West
There is a possibility that Hurricane Fiona could bring near-hurricane conditions.
This watch is in effect for Saturday. Some areas under this watch may be upgraded to a hurricane warning tonight at which point we will begin to forecast specific wind speeds.
For the Halifax area in particular, hurricane conditions (inland gusts to 120 km/h) may not occur but we will have a better idea tonight.
A hurricane watch means that hurricane conditions are possible over parts of the region within 36 hours. Hurricane conditions include (A) sustained winds near 120 km/h or more, and/or (B) significantly elevated water levels and dangerous surf along the coast.
By nature, a hurricane also implies the threat of local flooding from heavy rainfall – consult your local area forecast for possible rainfall warnings.
Public Weather Alerts: https://weather.gc.ca/warnings/index_e.html?prov=ns
Current Hurricane Conditions: https://weather.gc.ca/hurricane/index_e.html
Halifax EMO Information
Continued pre-storm preparations
HRM continues to work to ensure the appropriate resources are in place to respond and are activating operational plans as disruptions to several municipal services are expected.
HRM has been working with local businesses and event organizers to request that they determine if they will be able to maintain their plans to safely hold their events over the weekend. If they have any questions, they can contact 311 who will direct their questions to the Emergency Management team.
The municipal Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) will be operational as of noon on Friday, September 23, and we will be running 24/7 until the event is passed, our recovery efforts are complete, and municipal operations begin to return to normal.
Staff have continued to clear catch basins across the municipality, as flooding is expected in several areas due to the anticipated leaf debris during high winds. Residents have also been advised to clear catch basins near their homes if they are able to do so safely.
Emergency evacuation centres
As of 8:00 p.m. on Friday, 23 September, Evacuation Centres will be opened at the following locations:
- Canada Games Centre, 26 Thomas Raddall Drive
- Acadia Centre, 636 Sackville Drive, Lower Sackville
- St. Margaret’s Centre, 12 Westwood Blvd, Upper Tantallon
- Musquodoboit Harbour Community Centre, 7900 Highway 7, Musquodoboit Harbour
These four locations will remain open until the storm passes and we will assess what further spaces may be needed and the length of time they will be required to stay open.
Residents can self-evacuate to these four centres at any time during the storm; however, we advise them to travel only when it is safe to do so. Should residents experience damage to their homes during the storm and cannot safely evacuate they should call 911.
Support for those experiencing homelessness
The municipality is working with the provincial Department of Community Services and service providers to support those experiencing homelessness. The province is establishing two emergency shelters:
- The East Dartmouth Community Centre is being set up as a partnership between the municipality and province, with staffing provided by 902 Man Up. This location will be available as of 4:00 p.m. on Friday, September 23
- The St. Elizabeth Seton Church in Sackville, with Beacon House as the service provider (the province will be advised when this facility will be operational)
The Department of Community Services is providing and organizing funding and staffing for these locations.
Street Navigators and outreach workers have already started visiting the four municipal designated outdoor sheltering locations and encampment sites to advise people on what options are available to them.
As well, the Halifax Ground Search and Rescue Team will be doing wellness checks during the hurricane to check on the safety of anyone who chooses not to leave a designated outdoor sheltering location or an encampment.
There is a well-established process in place to open comfort centres when they are needed. Planning remains underway to identify potential locations that would be opened once the worst of the weather has passed, so that staff and residents are not travelling during the storm. More information about these locations will be shared as soon as it is available.
For more information on hurricane preparedness and response, visit https://www.halifax.ca/fire-police/fire/emergency-management/emergency-preparedness/hurricanes
The provincial Emergency Management Office (NSEMO) is reminding Nova Scotians to minimize the risk of property damage and personal injury by being prepared for potentially severe weather this weekend. More here: https://novascotia.ca/news/release/?id=20220921004
All provincial campgrounds, beaches and day-use parks and the Shubenacadie Wildlife Park will close at noon on Friday, September 23, because of severe weather expected from hurricane Fiona. More here https://novascotia.ca/news/release/?id=20220922001
NS Power Update
NS Power has been closely monitoring the weather forecasts for several days and taking steps to prepare for Hurricane Fiona heading our way Friday. Based on the recent weather forecasts and storm models, there is potential for severe, damaging winds and heavy rain across the province.
We will be opening our Emergency Operations Centre Friday at 8am (September 23). This will ensure the team has appropriate time to plan and prepare to centrally manage our storm response.
A news release was issued Wednesday and we are encouraging everyone to watch their local weather forecasts and prepare accordingly. Customers are also encouraged to report an outage online at outagemap.nspower.ca and to watch the outage map for the most up-to-date information and estimated restoration times.
A full list of storm safety and preparedness tips can be found on our website: www.nspower.ca/stormready
It’s also important to remember sometimes a customer’s electrical equipment – such as a meter mast – can get damaged in a storm. If this happens, they will need a certified electrician to make repairs before NS Power can safely restore their power. A list of electrical contractors can be found in the link provided.
We will provide another update once the storm arrives.
Some Practical Recommendations for Storm Preparedness
It is strongly suggested that you should make what preparations you are able to make before noon Friday. Please follow social media, websites, or the radio during the storm and follow recommendations from EMO officials when asked to stay indoors and off the streets.
All of these suggestions are made recognizing not everyone has the equipment/appliances/resources to act on all of these ideas. These ideas are presented for you to “do as you are able”.
- Do laundry, especially kids’ clothes, towels, and underwear
- Make sure all your dishes are done
- Take a shower
- Clean and tidy the room where you will mostly hang out if the power goes out. This makes for a better experience if you are waiting out the storm.
Food and drink:
- Pre-grind your whole bean coffee (if you are fancy, that is)
- Cook and bake in preparation, for example, hard-boiled eggs
- Canned & shelf-stable (no refrigeration) food and snacks
- Put ice packs or bottles of water or plastic containers in the freezer, and deep freeze if you have one. Idea is to fill all available space now so it freezes solid and will stay cold longer.
- Store BBQ-able meat in the kitchen freezer so won’t have to open the deep freeze.
- Make the fridge and freezer as cold as possible so it stays colder longer
- Make a big pot of soup/stew/chowder that can be re-heated on a wood stove/bbq/Coleman
- Ideally have some way to cook that does not require electricity – a stove for camping, a bbq, etc
- If you are on a well, lots and lots of buckets of water. Halifax has backup generators at both Halifax Water pumping stations, it is very unlikely city water will fail.
- Check pet supply food
Life with no power:
- Have some flashlights and or fresh batteries, and/or tea lights, but careful with candles as they can be a fire hazard
- Tether any BBQ to the railing & tie down patio furniture or bring it indoors/shed
- If you keep your freezer(s) closed, things will stay frozen for 24+hours. If power is out longer than that, please don’t throw stuff away. Fire up the BBQ or camp stove and cook stuff for you and your community. Or give stuff away to neighbours who can cook it.
- Freeze a container of water and put a quarter on top of it in your freezer and you can tell how much things thawed if that power goes out.
- Have lots of things downloaded and printed in case school goes down
- A full tank of gas/full charge in the car/vehicle
- Get some cash out in case there is an ATM or internet disruption.
- Do not use your powerless stove as a worktop/storage surface, when the power comes on history has shown lots of stoves still have burns turned on and the burners set the stuff on fire.
- Consider unplugging appliances (microwaves etc) and other electronics (TVs etc) if power is flickering.
- When there is a power outage, without or without a storm, and then power is restored, there could be a “power surge”, which could (but probably not) damage electrical and/or electronic equipment. Most equipment is designed to withstand such surges. Solar panels are especially robust in terms of withstanding such surges.
- Some solar installers recommend turning off the solar panel at the cut-off switch as a storm rolls in.
- Some others recommended turning off the power at the main breaker in the electrical panel to disconnect everything from NS Power until the storm passes
- Have a 72-hour pack ready, in case you need to leave your home – https://www.getprepared.gc.ca/cnt/rsrcs/pblctns/yprprdnssgd/index-en.aspx