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Live near the coast? Be prepared to evacuate on short notice says Savage

John Lohr said Fiona is projected to be a 'significant and historical weather event'
Big waves in the Cow Bay area (Meghan Groff/

Those living near the coastline are being asked to have their essentials gathered up in case they need to evacuate on short notice.

That stark warning from Halifax's mayor at a media briefing Thursday to provide an update preparations ahead of Fiona's arrival.

As of Thursday afternoon, Halifax is under a hurricane watch and a rainfall warning has already been issued.

John Lohr, who is the minister responsible for the provincial Emergency Management Office, said this system is projected to be a "significant and historical weather event" for our province.

He said we can all recall situations where we've prepared for a storm that ended up fizzling out, but "Fiona is different."

"All questions have been removed as to whether this storm will happen. We are now certain," Lohr explained. "Fiona will impact our province and it has the potential to be very dangerous. Impacts are projected to be felt across the province."

"Every Nova Scotian should be preparing today and bracing for impact."

Lohr said to expect damaging winds, large waves and storm surge, intense and dangerous rainfall rates, and prolonged power outages.

"Stay home for the storm and keep away from areas in your home that could be hit by flying debris, like doors and windows," he added. "Please remember to check in on your neighbours, especially the elderly and persons with disabilities, or those who may live alone."

If you're thinking of heading to Lawrencetown, Peggys Cove or any other coastal area to watch some waves, Halifax Mayor Mike Savage said don't. In fact there's a plan to shut down both the Halifax waterfront boardwalk, along with access to Peggys Cove.

"If you live near the coast, you must be prepared to leave on short notice, and pay close attention to possible evacuation orders," the mayor stated.

"Households should have a three-day emergency supply of water and food, clothing, first aid supplies, batteries, flashlights and blankets," he added. "These should be in a bag or container that's easy to transport in the event of an evacuation."

Erica Fleck, HRM's assistant chief of emergency management, said evacuation centres will be opening up at 8 p.m. Friday.

They'll be at the following locations for those who want to self-evacuate:

  • Canada Games Centre, 26 Thomas Raddall Drive, Halifax
  • Acadia Centre, 636 Sackville Drive, Lower Sackville
  • St Margaret’s Centre, 12 Westwood Boulevard, Upper Tantallon
  • Musquodoboit Harbour Community Centre, 7900 Highway 7, Musquodoboit Harbour

"There are a lot of older homes and trailers, and elderly citizens may not be able to evacuate safely on short notice, so that's why we're opening up four emergency evacuation centres ahead of time as of Friday evening," she explained. "For those people, we encourage them to self-evacuate if they need to."

The municipality also plans to have emergency shelters for those who are unhoused at the East Dartmouth Community Centre and the St. Elizabeth Seton Church in Sackville. Transportation and food will be provided.

However, he said there may be some people who choose to stay in designated outdoor shelters or encampments. HRM has arranged for the Halifax Ground Search and Rescue team to do wellness checks on them during the hurricane.

 "We're going to this the Nova Scotian way," Savage said. "We're going to do the right things."

"We're going to hunker down, we're going to be safe, and we're going to take care of everybody."

There are already several closures and cancellations ahead of the weekend.

UPDATE: You'll be able to listen to live, local coverage of the storm starting at 6 a.m. Saturday on CityNews 95.7.

Meghan Groff

About the Author: Meghan Groff

Born in Michigan, raised in Ontario, schooled in Indiana and lives in Nova Scotia; Meghan is the editor for CityNews Halifax.
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