After learning lessons from Juan, Maritimers say they're prepared for Dorian
Published Thursday, September 5, 2019 10:23PM ADT
As we get closer to the weekend and the arrival of Hurricane Dorian, some people are making personal preparations, while governments and utilities are activating emergency plans.
You don't have to look far to find people stocking up ahead of the storm.
"We're making sure we have water and we have some extra food," said Steve Kelley. "I also have some butane tanks because I have single burners, so that if there's no power we can still cook."
From grocery stores to the liquor store, people are getting the supplies they need -- and want -- ahead of the storm.
There was a steady lineup for propane at Costco all day Thursday as many Haligonians said they learned lessons when Hurricane Juan struck 16 years ago -- and they will be ready this time.
"I survived Hurricane Juan, so, I'm a little bit more prepared," said Steve Chevrier. "Have the right groceries, the right stuff, batteries, you know, generator fuel, all that good stuff. Last time I wasn't as prepared. The vehicle is full of gas and you should be good to go, ride her out."
Equipment rental stores are bracing for a hectic few days too as people are reserving generators and water pumps.
Trees, too, are a concern in a city full of them.
"Primarily, we're making sure that if there's any kind of preemptive work, like what we've done here today is getting done. Also making sure that all of our equipment is operational," said arborist Kevin Cattani.
The high winds could be a problem.
"We are expecting to see, potentially, a lot of trees hitting homes, which is why we're doing a lot of preemptive work this week, installing cables in trees for certain systems where they are likely to fail," said Cattani.
It's expected Hurricane Dorian will start to impact the Maritimes on Saturday.
Nova Scotia's Construction Association warned developers to secure their sites or face major public safety problems from howling winds.
There's enough rain in the forecast to prompt fresh fears of flooding in areas hit hard before and emergency management teams have ordered the clearing of catch basins to help prevent that.
Nova Scotia Power will activate its emergency operations centre at noon Friday and is bringing in hundreds of extra staff from forestry crews to line technicians to repair any damage caused by winds that are expected to exceed 100 km/h.
"This time of year, with many of the trees still full of leaves is another concern we are factoring into our planning," said Karen Hutt, the president and CEO of Nova Scotia Power. "At this point we are anticipating outages, we are planning for that and we are making sure that we are taking steps to mobilize teams right across the province to pre-stage and have them prepared and ready to respond just as soon as it's safe for them to do that."
Halifax Water is also taking all possible precautions.
"If the water supply goes down it affects a large customer base and a lot of institutions, a lot of private homes, private businesses, hospitals, all kinds of things," said James Campbell of Halifax Water. "We hope that those places have emergency backup plans in place that they can fall back on but again we've done what we can to ensure those infrastructures remain in place."
Dorian's strong winds are also a major concern for Halifax's two harbour bridges.
"At 85 km/h, we close the MacKay Bridge to high-sided vehicles and we close the sidewalk and bike lane on the Macdonald Bridge," said Halifax Harbour Bridges spokeswoman Alison MacDonald. "And then, if we get sustained wind of 120 km/h, we close the bridges."
On Wednesday night Exxon Mobil said it was removing non-essential crew off its Sable platform. On Thursday night, they went one step further and took everyone off.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Natasha Pace and Amy Stoodley.