Nova Scotia Gears Up for Hurricane Season with Extensive Awareness Campaign

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In response to the potential threat of an upcoming tropical storm and recognizing the imminent hurricane season, the Nova Scotia government is launching an extensive advertising campaign. The objective of the campaign is to encourage citizens to take necessary precautions and prepare adequately. This will see significant broadcast span through radio, print, and the internet, as communicated by John Lohr, the minister responsible for the Emergency Management Office.

Lohr emphasized at a press briefing on Thursday that each resident should gear up for hurricanes by assembling an emergency kit provisioned with essential supplies such as food, water, medications, and important documents. Disseminating this message, he said, “Each of us has a role to play in planning for and preparing for storms and hurricanes.”

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The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration have noted the potential for the current Atlantic hurricane season to witness intense activity. This announcement gains added weight in the face of Nova Scotia still grappling with repairs to some roads and bridges following a rare and catastrophic storm in July. This storm unleashed a three-month quota of rain on central Nova Scotia in a matter of few hours, leading to the unfortunate demise of four individuals, including two children, who were tragically swept away in the ensuing floodwaters.

Drawing attention to a developing situation, Bob Robichaud, a meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada, relayed that tropical storm Franklin who is currently in Bermuda, is gaining strength as it progresses towards the northeast. Franklin had earlier wreaked havoc in the Dominican Republic, causing extensive flooding and deadly landslides.

Robichaud projected that the storm is expected to impact their response zones by early next week, after which Franklin might evolve a northeast trajectory, a determinant for the weather system’s potential landfall over Atlantic Canada. He expressed that while most simulations indicate the storm’s centre remaining over the North Atlantic, Newfoundland continues to be a viable landfall zone, warning that the options still remain open. He added that Franklin may not lead to a scenario similar to the Fiona onslaught last year, but cautioned against underestimating its potential force.

Parts of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland faced significant devastation caused by post-tropical storm Fiona last September. The storm claimed three lives, destroyed homes, and caused widespread power outages. Fiona set the record as the costliest storm to ever hit the Atlantic region, with insured damages exceeding $800 million.

Matt Drover, Nova Scotia Power’s senior director of energy delivery, highlighted that every storm has unique impacts on the province. Nova Scotia Power is currently engaged in precautionary measures to reduce potential power outages by clearing trees in proximity to power poles and lines. Additionally, vulnerable regions such as Cape Breton are being “storm-hardened” with measures that include relocating power lines closer to highways and reinforcing them with larger, taller poles capable of withstanding high winds. However, he acknowledged that the risk of power outages from falling trees cannot be entirely eliminated.

The emergency management office is maintaining active contact with municipalities and other government departments in preparation for the hurricane season which traditionally spans from June through November.

Claudia Chender, leader of Nova Scotia’s NDP, voiced concern regarding the lack of specifics provided about the province’s emergency preparedness measures. Particularly, she stressed on the need for remediation of cellphone “dead zones,” which had proven detrimental during the July flood situation. She pointed out, “In case of emergency, even if there are alerts, those alerts aren’t going to come through if you don’t have cell service.” She added that this proposed a significant safety hazard, especially to those based in rural locales of Nova Scotia.