Hurricane Preparedness in Nova Scotia

Canadians can expect an average year for hurricane activity, with as many as 15 named storms, including up to four major hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean.

Environment and Climate Change Canada meteorologist Bob Robichaud presented the 2019 hurricane forecast in Dartmouth, N.S., on Thursday, based on that of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Centre.

In Nova Scotia, hurricanes are well known for causing extensive damage, including structural damage, uprooted trees and downed power lines. Hurricanes are most common during the summer months and deep into the fall.

Hurricanes vary in strength, categorized into 5 levels, but even the winds of the weakest hurricanes can cause a lot of destruction.

In the case of strong winds during hurricane season, it’s best to tune into your local broadcast networks, in case a hurricane watch is issued by the authorities or meteorologists focusing on your area. If you’re near the water, it’s also a good idea to check the Marine Forecasts and Warnings for Canada.

In the event that you do hear a hurricane watch, here are a few tips to follow:

  • Fill your bathtub with water for flushing, washing and cleaning. This way, you don’t have to use precious drinking water for these also necessary activities.
  • Secure all gates, doors and windows.
  • Clear your property of all loose furniture and other items such as trash cans, potted or hanging plants, trampolines and toys.
  • If you have time, attempt to make your trees more wind resistant by trimming off any dead or diseased plants.
  • Park your vehicles indoors, if possible, and especially keep them away from trees.
  • Fill your vehicle’s gas tank, in case you need to evacuate quickly.
  • Keep pets indoors.
  • Keep boats or other water crafts out of the water, and a good distance away from the shoreline.
  • Get your emergency kit out of the closet and into the car, if that’s how you’re planning on leaving your property.

When a more definite hurricane warning is issued, it means that winds of at least 118 km per hour are expected to blow.

At this point, there are usually only a few hours before the hurricane strikes. Ideally you’ll have made preparations according to advice such as is found above.

  • You’ll be able to leave your home quickly, if need be.
  • Stay away from the water.
  • Stay put after the eye of the storm has passed, because soon extreme winds will be gusting in from the opposite direction.
  • Keep listening to weather reports on your portable radio or cellphone.
  • Do not use a landline phone, if there is lightning. Only use a cellphone.

For more information on hurricanes in Canada, try these sites:

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