Nova Scotia is bracing for the first major storm of the season, as Hurricane Lee moves toward the Maritimes.
Lee is expected to make landfall on Saturday, but the region should see wind and rain starting Friday night. And with trees in full leaf, power outages are possible.
Municipalities across the province have been communicating with residents about the best ways to plan for this weekend’s storm.
Environment Canada has issued hurricane watches for parts of southern and central Nova Scotia, including Yarmouth, Shelburne, Queens, Lunenburg, Digby and Halifax counties, along with existing tropical storm, wind and storm surge warnings and declarations. current.
Shannon Miedema, director of environment and climate change for the Halifax Regional Municipality, said the city has prepared storm kits for those who cannot afford emergency supplies.
Miedema said the kits include educational materials on how to prepare for hurricanes, heat and other extreme weather, with multiple translations for “newcomer communities.”
For home emergency kits, Miedema said people should make sure they have “the supplies in their home to be well for at least 72 hours,” Miedema said, adding that “lighting and phone chargers and some non-perishable foods” are also key. items.
He also said part of the storm preparation dates back to Hurricane Dorian in 2019, when the township purchased a refrigerated truck to store residents’ frozen foods during power outages. Miedema said the truck is already ready for this weekend.
Also in Halifax, homeless people will be able to get transportation to shelters being set up around the city, said Lucas Goltz, downtown Halifax boater outreach program coordinator.
“We have some really great people in this city who are working in the streets behind the scenes to orchestrate and coordinate a lot of different ways that we can support people in the streets right now,” Goltz said in Information tomorrow Nova Scotia Friday.
He said one of his concerns about the next storm is how it could affect the well-being of people living on the streets.
“They’re dealing with lack of sleep, depression, anxiety and psychotic episodes,” he said. “I’m worried that this weather is going to [exacerbate] a lot of that and make the desperation a little more pronounced.
“So, I’m just trying to encourage my customers.”
He said there is greater concern about homeless people who don’t end up using any of the shelters.
“There are a lot of campsites surrounded by trees,” he said. “That would be my biggest concern as a social worker for my clients and myself: falling debris.”
Halifax Water has said its teams are inspecting stormwater systems to ensure they are operating “at full capacity” and has asked residents to ensure storm drains, catch basins and storm drains are free of leaves and other waste.
Across the province, the Salvation Army says it is also ready to support residents.
John Bignell, the charity’s disaster emergency services specialist, said they are preparing their canteen trucks with cooked meals that will be driven to communities in need across the Maritimes region.
“We have teams in Yarmouth and Bridgewater, Liverpool and Bridgetown that are standing by and waiting to see what the needs are so we can provide support,” Bignell said in Information tomorrow Nova Scotia on Friday.
In Shelburne County, fire departments have also been preparing. Eric Jeffery, a volunteer firefighter in Gunning Cove, said this spring’s wildfires showed department crews in the area what to do in the event of extreme weather conditions.
Lifeguards on alert
“Since the wildfire we had here, all the fire departments have been putting together everything they need for big situations like this,” Jeffery said. “I think this time there will be more resources available if needed than any other storm we’ve had, simply because we’ve had some revelations.”
Part of the planning has involved determining which fire departments can be tapped to cover those dealing with active emergencies.
In Cumberland County, the area’s regional emergency management team continues to monitor Lee and is “working hard to support the efforts of first responders and community members who will be on the front lines facing the storm,” Greg Herrett said. , the town. from Cumberland’s chief administrative officer, in a statement.
Herrett also said residents are urged to stock up on supplies and monitor social media accounts for updates.
“Decisions about opening comfort centers will be made on a community-by-community basis,” Herrett added.
This week, the provincial Department of Community Services released its list of shelters that will be open across the province this weekend, with some opening Friday night.
Cancellations throughout the region
Bay Ferries has announced that Fundy Rose sailings on Saturdays and Sundays are cancelled.
The Halifax Seaport Farmers Market will also be closed Saturday due to the storm.