NEWS

Hurricane Gonzalo: 50/50 chance it will hit Newfoundland

10/17/2014 05:50 EDT | Updated 12/17/2014 05:59 EST
Hurricane Gonzalo was bearing down on Bermuda Friday, as meteorologists wondered whether the storm would make landfall on Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula this weekend.

Models vary on the exact path that Gonzalo, which is currently a Category 4 hurricane, will take as it moves into Canadian waters.

Gonzalo is expected to weaken to a post-tropical storm by the time it passes Nova Scotia, with an expectation of ocean swells as high as three metres. 

The storm will then move on to southeastern Newfoundland where there is potential for storm-related damage.

Steve Hatt, a meteorologist with the Canadian Hurricane Centre, said Friday morning that Gonzalo will pack a punch, even though it won't be a hurricane when it arrives.

"There is about a 50 per cent chance that it's going to make landfall over the Avalon, and a 50 per cent chance roughly that it's going to stay offshore," he told CBC News.

Either way, Hatt said, residents of the Avalon and Burin peninsulas should brace for high winds.

Very high winds are expected on the Grand Banks, which could have implications for mariners and the offshore oil industry.

Hatt said current projections have Gonzalo arriving in Newfoundland "very early on Sunday morning — somewhere between 3 and 6 on Sunday morning."

As much as 75 mm of rain expected

Gonzalo is expected to drop as much as 75 mm of rain over eastern Newfoundland by the time it passes on Sunday. 

Preparations were well underway by Friday for the advance of the storm. Newfoundland Power, which has had to deal with outages in prior storms, said it is ready to act. 

"We're making sure that all of our pieces of equipment are up to date," said Karen McCarthy, the utility's manager of corporate relations and communications. 

"We make sure we have enough fuel in place at all of our locations for our trucks, for our mobile generators, for example, which we take depending on where there's an issue."

The Newfoundland and Labrador government advised homeowners to have an emergency kit — including such items as food, medications and extra batteries - that would last for 72 hours. 

Residents were also reminded to charge electronic devices, ensure that sump pumps are in working order, clear debris from household drains and ensure that lawn furniture and other outdoor items are stored properly when high winds begin. 

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