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Maritimers prepare as Hurricane Lee looks to make landfall this weekend

Municipalities across the province have been advising residents about the best ways to plan for the approaching storm.

Storm should begin affecting the region Friday night and make landfall Saturday

Map showing forecast track of Hurricane Lee.

Nova Scotia is preparing for the first major storm of the season, as Hurricane Lee barrels toward the Maritimes.

Lee is expected to make landfall on Saturday, but the region should see wind and rain starting Friday night. And with the trees fully leafed, power outages are possible.

"For Yarmouth County, you'll see some impacts late this evening — possibly into mid-evening if this storm does speed up," Bob Robichaud, a senior forecaster with Environment Canada, told reporters during a news briefing on Friday afternoon.

"… Any kinds of preparations should be completed by late this afternoon, early evening at the latest because we are going to start to see some of that rain and winds are gradually going to start to pick up."

Robichaud said the storm will be a "prolonged event," with effects being felt into Sunday for parts of the province.

Nova Scotia Power said it has been preparing for Hurricane Lee all week. Matt Drover, the senior director of energy delivery for Nova Scotia Power, told reporters the company is expecting high winds that could knock down trees. He said Digby, Yarmouth and Shelburne are the most concerning areas, so Nova Scotia Power is "pre-mobilizing" crews and contractors to those locations.

N.S. officials give update on Hurricane Lee preparations

5 hours ago

Duration 31:56

Emergency management officials are speaking alongside representatives from Environment Canada, Nova Scotia Power, Eastlink and Bell.

"The majority of people will be down in the western part ready to respond to power outages as soon as they occur," said Drover.

Office of Emergency Management Minister John Lohr said if needed, emergency alerts would be sent out through multiple platforms so more people can see them. This includes TV, mobile phones and radio. Lohr recommended people have a battery-powered radio on hand if the power goes out.

Municipalities across the province have been communicating with residents about the best ways to plan for this weekend's storm.

  • If the power or data on your device is low, get your storm updates on CBC Lite. It's our low-bandwidth, text-only website.

Environment Canada has issued hurricane watches for parts of southern and central Nova Scotia, including Yarmouth, Shelburne, Queens, Lunenburg, Digby and Halifax counties, alongside the tropical storm, wind and storm-surge warnings and statements already in place.

Shannon Miedema, the director of environment and climate change for Halifax Regional Municipality, said the city has prepared storm kits for those who might not be able to afford emergency supplies.

Miedema said the kits include educational materials about preparing for hurricanes, heat and other extreme weather, with multiple translations for "newcomer communities."

For homemade emergency kits, Miedema said people should make sure to have "the provisions in your home to be OK for at least 72 hours," Miedema said, adding that "lighting and chargers for phones and some non-perishable food" are also key items.

She also said some of the storm preparation dates back to Hurricane Dorian in 2019, when the municipality purchased a refrigerated truck to house residents' frozen food during power outages. Miedema said that the truck has been prepped for this weekend.

Also in Halifax, homeless people will be able to get transportation to the shelters being set up in the city, said Lucas Goltz, the program co-ordinator for Downtown Halifax's navigator outreach program.

"We have some really great people in this city who are working on the streets behind the scenes to orchestrate and co-ordinate a whole bunch of just different ways that we can support people in the streets right now," Goltz said on Information Morning Nova Scotia Friday.

Help for people experiencing homelessness

He said one of his concerns about the upcoming storm is how it may affect the well-being of people living on the streets.

"They're dealing with lack of sleep, dealing with depression, anxiety, psychotic episodes," he said. "I am concerned that this weather is going to [exacerbate] a lot of that and cause the despair to be a little more pronounced.

"So, I'm just trying to go around encouraging my clients."

Storm kit essentials for the hurricane season

3 days ago

Duration 1:29

Nova Scotia's Emergency Management Office suggests being prepared for at least 72 hours without power. Here's what you should have.

He said there's heightened concern for homeless people who don't end up using any of the shelters.

"There's a lot of encampments that are surrounded by trees," he said. "That would be my greatest concern as an outreach worker for my clients and for myself, falling debris."

Halifax Water has said its teams are out inspecting storm water systems to ensure they are working "at full capacity," and has asked residents to make sure storm drains, catch basins and culverts are free of leaves and other debris.

First responders on alert

Across the province, the Salvation Army says it is also ready to support residents.

John Bignell, the charity's emergency disaster services specialist, said they are preparing their canteen trucks with cooked meals that will be driven to communities in need across the Maritimes.

"We do have teams in Yarmouth and Bridgewater, Liverpool and in Bridgetown that are on standby and waiting to see what the needs are so that we can provide support," Bignell said on Information Morning Nova Scotia on Friday.

In Shelburne County, fire departments have been preparing, as well. Eric Jeffery, a volunteer firefighter in Gunning Cove, said wildfires this spring showed department teams in the area what needs to be done in the event of extreme weather conditions.

"Ever since our forest fire that we had down here, all the fire departments have kind of been gathering everything that they need for big situations like this," Jeffery said. "I think this time, there'll be more resources available if they're needed than any other storm that we've had, just because we've had a few eye-openers."

Some of the planning has involved figuring out which fire departments can be called on to cover those that are dealing with active emergencies.

Community comfort centres

Over in Cumberland County, the area's regional emergency management team continues to monitor Lee and is "working hard to support the efforts of first responders and community members who will be on the front lines to deal with the storm," said Greg Herrett, the Municipality of Cumberland's chief administrative officer, in a statement.

Herrett also said residents are being urged to stock up on supplies and monitor social media accounts for updates.

"Decisions on opening comfort centres will be made on a community-by-community basis," Herrett added.

Cancellations across the region

This week, the provincial Department of Community Services released its list of shelters that will be open across the province this weekend, with some opening as early as Friday evening.

Bay Ferries has announced that sailings of the Fundy Rose on Saturday and Sunday are cancelled.

The Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market will also be closed on Saturday due the storm.

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