HALIFAX — Hurricane Dorian is expected to make landfall in Atlantic Canada Saturday with winds of 100 kilometres per hour, driving rain and pounding coastal surf — conditions that had emergency officials warning Friday of the potential for significant damage across the region.
The Canadian Hurricane Centre said Friday that a hurricane warning was in effect for central and eastern Nova Scotia, and a hurricane watch was is in effect for southwestern Newfoundland.
Tropical storm watches were also in effect for western Nova Scotia, southeastern New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, the Magdalen Islands and northwestern Newfoundland.
“We expect it to make landfall as a hurricane and then we expect it to move towards Newfoundland into the Gulf of St. Lawrence and then become a post tropical storm at that particular stage,” said Bob Robichaud, the centre’s warning preparedness meteorologist.
“But it will be a hurricane-strength post tropical storm, meaning we still have hurricane force winds associated with that storm.”
Robichaud said initial high winds would be felt in southwestern Nova Scotia earlier Saturday with the centre of the storm expected to land near or just east of Halifax by Saturday evening.
“What we should expect are things like uprooted trees, broken trees — that may result in extended power outages,” Robichaud said.
Most regions were forecast to experience tropical storm force winds of 90 to 110 kilometres per hour. Near and to the south of the forecast track, winds were expected to reach hurricane force of 120 kilometres per hour or more.
Fishermen along Nova Scotia’s Atlantic Coast expressed worries about Dorian’s potential strength as boats were moved to sheltered areas and tied together tightly.
“There’s a huge amount of activity around the dock,” said Evan d’Entremont, the 60-year-old owner of Evans Fresh Seafoods in West Pubnico, on Nova Scotia’s southwestern coast, home to one of Canada’s busiest areas of commercial fishing.
“Hopefully, we won’t have too many tidal surges,” d”Entremont said. “That’s the killer down here.”
Most vessels in the area had returned to the wharfs by Friday afternoon. Fishermen tied them up together in long rows with secure lines and thick bumpers.
“There’s not too much you can do,” said Jamey Mood, 38, a fisherman who lives in West Pubnico.
“You have to make sure your bow and stern lines are doubled and tripled up and make sure your extra bumpers are out so that you don’t beat the other boats all to pieces …. Some boats are tied five in a row.”