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Officials offer advice on preparing for Fiona

Nova Scotians are being asked to 'be aware and be prepared'
(Stock photo)

Nova Scotians are being asked to "be aware and be prepared" as Fiona approaches the province.

As of late Wednesday afternoon, both a tropical cyclone information statement and a special weather statement have been issued in the Halifax area.

According to the advisories, the province can expect "dangerous weather conditions" including severe and damaging wind gusts, intense rainfall rates and very high waves and coastal storm surge.

Nova Scotia’s Emergency Management Office hosted a media briefing Wednesday afternoon with key partners -- including representatives from the Canadian Hurricane Centre, Nova Scotia Power and the Canadian Red Cross -- to provide an update on what we should be prepared for this weekend.

The Canadian Hurricane Centre's Bob Robichaud said a trough not associated with the hurricane will approach Nova Scotia before Fiona arrives.

That's going to give us rain late Thursday, and Robichaud expects it to draw in some of the moisture from the tropical system.

"So that's probably going to enhance some of the rainfall well ahead of the main bad weather we're going to get Friday night into Saturday," the meteorologist explained.

Fiona is expected to merge with the trough, and Robichaud said that interaction will be critical in determining the fine details on timing, track and intensity, but for now, we do have some idea of what to expect.

"The effects of the hurricane itself won't be felt until later Friday evening into the overnight hours, which will probably be the worst, and then into Saturday morning as well."

"The important thing right now is to keep an eye on the forecast over the next few days as we start to firm up the scenario for Friday and Saturday."

EMO's Jason Mew said all signs point to the province being affected by this storm.

"I think everyone should take this storm seriously and take the necessary preparations so they can ride out the storm," he stated.

"I'd say most of the province is going to be impacted in one form or another, but we are probably going to see more severe impacts in central and eastern Nova Scotia."

He recommends taking steps now to get ready for the weather conditions, and potentially, the resulting extended power outages.

"Securing outdoor items, furniture, items on your patio, trimming or removing damaged trees or limbs, make sure you have your 72-hour kit ready, and charge cell phones and other devices," Mew suggested. "Remember to check in on neighbours and help where possible."

The Canadian Red Cross's Ancel Langille said that emergency kit doesn't need to be extravagant to be effective.

"You'd be surprised how many of these items you already have," he said. "I'm thinking canned food, a can opener, bottled water, extra medication and supplies for your pet."

The organization has a recommended list of essential items, that also includes granola bars, peanut butter, oatmeal and apple sauce.

You'll also want 72 hours worth of personal hygiene and medical items such as contacts and solution, hearing aids, dentures, diabetes supplies.

If you have a young child, you may need diapers, formula, baby food and some toys.

It's a good idea to have some extra batteries on hand for flashlights and radios, or even ones that run off of solar power or can be hand-cranked. USB battery packs can charge cell phones and other electronic devices.

And don't forget some items to keep your family entertained, such as board games, books, cards and puzzles.

Nova Scotia Power plans to activate its Emergency Operations Centre on Friday morning.

"We've mobilized over 500 field resources," the utility's storm lead Sean Borden said. "We'll continue to monitor the weather and adjust our resource plans in the coming days."

High winds can delay the restoration response as crews can't safely work up in the buckets when winds exceed 80km/hour.

Outages can be reported and monitored online or by calling 1-877-428-6004.

"We're all saying that this is going to be a significant storm," Mew added. "People should make the preparations that are required just to make sure they can be safe and their families can be safe."

"Be prepared. It doesn't hurt to take those extra precautions."

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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