‘It could be a tropical storm or hurricane'
TRURO - Be prepared. That's the resounding theme by area officials regarding the first hurricane of the season.
© SHERRY MARTELL – TRURO DAILY NEWS
Mona O’Brien, the Red Cross’s district community supervisor for the northern region, checks supplies such as cots and blankets packed in a Red Cross emergency response trailer in Truro Heights. O’Brien said the Red Cross is prepared to be mobilized at a moment’s notice in an emergency.
Although it was too early on Thursday to precisely predict how severe hurricane Arthur could hit Colchester County, emergency officials were urging people to err on the side of caution.
Bob Robichaud, a hurricane centre meteorologist with Environment Canada, told the Truro Daily News "depending on where the storm tracks" Colchester County is expected to "see brief, heavy downpours" on Saturday.
Robichaud said it's too early to accurately predict how many millimeters will fall, but weather will begin to "deteriorate" in the morning and continue into the evening.
Robichaud said Colchester County "should not be in the area of the strongest winds," most of which locally is expected in the evening. He warned this forecast could change as the storm moves along, but a "pretty nice day" is in the forecast here on Sunday.
Robert Levine, co-ordinator for the emergency measures organization in Colchester County, reminded residents to be prepared for 72 hours just in case.
Levine said it's a "fine line" when major storms are predicted because officials don't want to provoke fear, but do want to urge people not to be complacent.
Mona O'Brien, the Red Cross's district community supervisor for the northern region, told the Truro Daily News people should prepare by implementing simple practices.
"Have enough to sustain yourself and your family for 72 hours after a storm. Have medications up to date, lots of food, a little bit of cash and lots of gas," suggested O'Brien. "If the power goes out or services were taken away, what do you need? That's a good way to look at it."
O'Brien confirmed the Red Cross was "ready to roll on a moment's notice and working on volunteer resources and preparing supplies" on Thursday.
She encouraged residents to secure loose items in their yards and Levine said it's wise to check on seniors or people with physical disabilities who may need assistance.
Regarding the erection of a community shelter, Levine said it's too early for that.
"It's not done in advance. There's no need for it yet."
Some area businesses, including the Atlantic Superstore in Truro, are taking extra precautions as well.
"We'll have extra water and batteries," said store manager Greg Hatfield.
"We expect a busy day Friday" and a few extra staff members will be brought in to accommodate more customers.
According to Environment Canada on Thursday afternoon, forecasters believe Nova Scotia may face the strongest winds, but New Brunswick and PEI may take the brunt of the rainfall, and amounts of 50 mm to 100 mm are expected in some areas.
On Thursday, Arthur was moving north along the southern U.S. coast and had winds recorded of up to 120 km/hour.
The Emergency Management Office (EMO) is reminding Nova Scotians to take
steps to help minimize risk of property and personal damage from a
hurricane or tropical storm. The basic checklist includes:
-- Enough food and water for 72 hours.
-- Monitoring local broadcast networks for updates.
-- Securing gates, doors and windows.
-- Moving yard furniture and securing trash cans, hanging plants and
anything that can be picked up by wind.
-- Checking radio batteries.
-- Filling vehicles with gas and parking them away from trees.
-- Removing dead or diseased branches from trees to make them more wind
-- Keeping pets inside.
-- Moving any type of watercraft to high ground.