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Coast of Halifax Regional Municipality under voluntary evacuation notice, Dorian shifts track westward


As the track of hurricane Dorian shifted Friday, Halifax Regional Municipality issued a voluntary evacuation notice for residents along its shoreline.

The municipality said in the notice that it is requesting people consider other accommodations until the storm passes.

It said waves are expected to reach heights of 49 feet, (15 metres) which could create dangerous conditions for residents living near the water.

Residents of high-risk areas such as Sambro, Peggys Cove, and along the Eastern Shore are asked to make plans immediately to self-evacuate.

The Red Cross will be opening three evacuation shelters at noon on Saturday to accommodate those who are unable to find other accommodations. The shelters will be located at the Dartmouth East Community Centre, Canada Games Centre, and St. Margarets Centre.

The municipality said that while the evacuation is voluntary it is urging everyone in high-risk areas to find alternative shelter.

People were lined up at retail outlets across the province Friday to fill propane tanks and buy food and water in preparation for the storm.

The track of Dorian shifted slightly to the west overnight Thursday, and as of mid-afternoon Friday it was projected to make landfall around Peggys Cove.

It was a Category 1 hurricane Friday morning as it passed the eastern seaboard of the United States and started speeding up, and should make landfall as a rapidly weakening Category 1 storm or a very strong post-tropical one, meteorologist Cindy Day said Friday morning.

Strenath Viswanadhan and his daughters, Aadrika and Anugraha, line up for propane at Costco Bayer’s Lake. - Tim Krochak
Strenath Viswanadhan and his daughters, Aadrika and Anugraha, line up for propane at Costco Bayer’s Lake. - Tim Krochak

“We shouldn’t get caught up in categories or numbers, either way the precipitation will be pretty much the same,” she said.

The biggest bands of rain will still be in the western half of Nova Scotia, but the shift means Halifax may get a bit less precipitation than originally expected. Rain from the system will arrive late Saturday morning.

Between 100mm and 150 mm of rain could fall from the South Shore to the Annapolis Valley, with 75-100 mm possible in Halifax County.

“When you get to Cape Breton its really not a rainstorm at all,” Day said.

She said not much has changed with the wind projections. Cape Breton will see winds of up to 130 km/h, with much of the province seeing sustained winds of at least 60-70 km/h and gusts of 90-100 km/h from late evening to early Sunday.

Sustained winds are those that maintain their speed for an average of two minutes.

The winds will change direction throughout the storm, with storm surges of about three metres.

“Don’t focus on what kind of storm it is, or exactly where landfall is. The centre of the storm has hurricane-force winds wrapping around it that extend about 75 kilometres from the centre, while the tropical storm-force winds reach out 350 kilometres from the centre,” she said. “Whether the centre is over Guysborough or Canso or Halifax, there is still a strong wind field associated with the system.”

The storm will move quickly, reaching the southwest corner of Nova Scotia at about 8 p.m. Saturday evening, Day said. By 8 a.m. Sunday it will be just off Channel-Port aux Basque in Newfoundland.

“Each one of us (in the Maritimes) will experience the storm for just a few hours.”

Some people were seen buying plywood in advance of the storm.

Hocus Pocus is pulled out of the water at the Shearwater Yacht Club on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019. Boat owners were taking precautions for exposed boats, as hurricane Dorian tracks towards Nova Scotia. One boat owner remarked, “ Here’s one thing about the sea, boys. I will tell you right now, because, whatever you do wrong in a storm, you will find out, guaranteed.” - Tim Krochak
Hocus Pocus is pulled out of the water at the Shearwater Yacht Club on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019. Boat owners were taking precautions for exposed boats, as hurricane Dorian tracks towards Nova Scotia. One boat owner remarked, “ Here’s one thing about the sea, boys. I will tell you right now, because, whatever you do wrong in a storm, you will find out, guaranteed.” - Tim Krochak

Friday afternoon Encana said that, based on the forecasted weather and sea-state conditions, they were removing all remaining personnel at their Deep Panuke production field centre today.

Brad McCallum, executive director of the group Nova Scotia Cattle Producers, said the big animals will shelter as best they can during the storm.

“A lot of farmers will try to bring the cattle as close as possible to the home farm,” he said. “They’ll bring them off flood plain areas or flood-prone areas and bring them to higher ground, particularly those along the Bay of Fundy and the Antigonish isthmus, so all the dykes.”

Farmers also make sure there is adequate water runoff in barrels for the cattle, and will make sure there’s lots of feed available to them in case they can’t get to them for a couple of days.

“(Cattle) are smarter than us,” McCallum said. “It’s the same as the winter, they’ll find a dry, sheltered area if they have access to it.”

He said farm employees will start to check on the cattle overnight after the winds die down and it’s safe to go outside, looking for downed trees and broken fences.

VIEW CINDY DAY'S LATEST FORECAST HERE

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