Cumberland County residents urged to be prepared for Fiona

The Municipality of Cumberland’s acting director of protective services Allen Cole (left) speaks with Mike Johnson, Jim Hannon and Bill Ireland. Darrell Cole/Municipality of Cumberland

The Municipality of Cumberland’s acting director of protective services is urging people to be prepared for the worst as Nova Scotia appears to be in the crosshairs of a major tropical storm.

Hurricane Fiona is expected to bring dangerous weather conditions to Cumberland County and all of Nova Scotia starting Friday afternoon and extending into Sunday morning..

“It was just three years ago that we experienced hurricane Dorian and if that storm taught us anything it’s that we can’t be complacent. The time to get prepared is now,” Allen Cole said. “People must take precautions now around their own properties and they need to stock up on necessary supplies like food, water and batteries.”

Dorian, which hit the Caribbean as a Category 5 storm in August, transitioned from a Category 2 storm to a post-tropical storm that made landfall in Nova Scotia on Sept. 7, 2019, with winds close to 155 km/h.

Areas of Nova Scotia along the Atlantic coast received more than 150 mm of rain.The wind and rain combined to down trees and powerlines across the province while washing out roads.

At its height, approximately 400,000 Nova Scotians were without power.

In Cumberland County, there was significant tree damage that brought down powerlines and knocked out electricity for several days. In some rural areas of the province, storm damage left by Dorian left some without electricity for nine days.

Cole said the Canadian Hurricane Centre expects Fiona to transition into a hurricane-force post-tropical cyclone on Saturday. Very heavy rain is expected to begin Friday and Cole said this could result in flooding and washed out roads in some areas, especially in low coastal areas along the Northumberland Strait.

Strong to severe wind gusts are expected to begin impacting the region on Friday and peaking on Saturday.

“Past storms of this nature have produced prolonged power outages and structural damage,” Cole said. “Buildings under construction will be particularly vulnerable.”

Cole met Wednesday with the county’s director of protective services Bill Ireland and past EMO co-ordinators Mike Johnson and Jim Hannon to discussion preparations.

“Household preparations and emergency kits should be completed prior to the start of inclement weather,” Cole said. “This would include having sufficient food and water for up to 72 hours. It also means charging cellular phones if lacking a landline and securing or removing outdoor furniture or other materials that will pose a hazard in high winds. Travel is likely to be interrupted by flooding and downed trees and powerlines.”

Cole said it’s important for residents to continue monitoring alerts and forecast updates from Environment Canada.Municipal crews will be on standby for emergency response during the storm as well as clean up once the storm has passed.