Hurricane Bill to hit Atlantic Canada

CanWest News Service
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Hurricane Bill is on track to blow through Atlantic Canada Sunday as forecasted, according to officials with the Canadian Hurricane Centre.
Forecasters at the centre, based in Dartmouth, N.S., say the first hurricane of the season is expected to deliver strong winds with maximum speeds of 140 kilometres per hour.
As of 9 a.m. AT, the Category 1 hurricane is about 150 km southeast of Yarmouth, moving at 48 km/h towards the east coast of Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island.
A hurricane watch is in effect in eastern mainland Nova Scotia and southern Cape Breton.
"So far, no large surprises are noted and everything seems to be unfolding as forecast," the centre said in a statement, but added, "little sign of weakening is noted."
Between 75 and 100 millimetres of rain is estimated for much of Nova Scotia, P.E.I. and southern Newfoundland, with some areas getting drenched with up to 150 mm.
"As a result, local flooding can be expected in flood-prone areas," the centre warned. "Heavy downpours will reduce visibilities and lead to standing water presenting a hazard to motorists."
Officials have also issued a stern warning to residents to get ready for fallen trees and broken power lines. Residents are "strongly advised to keep a safe distance from the shoreline" due to rapidly approaching waves of up to 10 metres high.
Forecasters expect the hurricane to weaken after sweeping through Nova Scotia this afternoon, before making its first landfall over southeastern Newfoundland as a strong tropical storm Sunday night. Residents in that province can expected to be whipped by 70 km/h winds and gusts of up to 120 km/h.
All but a handful of flights arriving and departing the Halifax airport Sunday have been cancelled. A ferry company cancelled all its sailings.
Nova Scotia Power said it is prepared to repair damage after the storm passes. "Our line crews, tree trimming crews and damage assessment teams are on standby for Sunday and we have arranged for additional crews from contractors and neighbouring provinces to be available as needed," the power authority said. "We are ready to respond."
Bill is the first major hurricane forecast to strike the East Coast since Hurricane Juan wreaked havoc across Nova Scotia and P.E.I. in 2003.
Juan caught residents here largely unawares, despite the government's warnings, because residents were accustomed to hurricanes veering away or petering out before making landfall.
After Juan, the power was out for two weeks in some areas of the Maritimes - despite help from out-of-province power crews. If the rest of Atlantic Canada is hit this time, that help may not be coming.

Organizations: Canadian Hurricane Centre, Nova Scotia Power

Geographic location: Atlantic Canada, Nova Scotia, Cape Breton Island Dartmouth Yarmouth Southern Newfoundland Southeastern Newfoundland Halifax East Coast

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