09/19/2020 18:24 EDT

Maritimers Prepping For Hurricane Teddy Should Keep Pandemic In Mind: Expert

The storm is expected to pass through wide areas of Atlantic Canada on Tuesday and Wednesday.

This GOES-16 GeoColor satellite image taken on Friday shows Hurricane Teddy, centre, in the Atlantic, Tropical Depression 22, left, in the Gulf of Mexico, the remnants Paulette, top right, and Tropical Storm Wilfred, lower right.

HALIFAX — The Canadian Hurricane Centre’s top meteorologist is suggesting the combination of hurricane Teddy and a continuing pandemic should prompt Maritimers to plan well ahead for potential power outages.

Teddy remains on track to pass through wide areas of Atlantic Canada on Tuesday and Wednesday, bringing fierce winds and heavy rainfall.

The centre says Teddy is currently a Category 3 system moving about 1,000 kilometres southeast of Bermuda with maximum sustained winds estimated at 204 kilometres an hour.

The storm is expected to pass east of Bermuda on Monday and begin to accelerate towards Nova Scotia.

The forecast says the centre of Teddy could make landfall along the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia late Tuesday, with possible impacts including strong, potentially damaging winds, storm surges along with pounding surf and heavy rainfall.

Forecasters say when it reaches Canadian waters south of the Maritimes it will be a Category 2 hurricane, and is expected to transition to a “very dangerous” tropical storm as it moves though the region.

They say while the storm’s intensity is expected to diminish, the area to be affected by tropical storm force winds is likely to expand significantly, while winds could maintain hurricane force south of the forecast track.

Even in August we were saying, whatever you need to get through a storm, you should purchase it before the storm is on the map.Bob Robichaud, Canadian Hurricane Centre

The hurricane centre’s senior forecaster, Bob Robichaud, notes the potential track is currently 360 kilometres wide, meaning the eye could go into the Gulf of Maine south of Nova Scotia or pass to the province’s east.

He says residents are advised to prepare for hurricane-related power outages this fall, given the need to socially distance when shopping for supplies before storms.

“Even in August we were saying, whatever you need to get through a storm, you should purchase it before the storm is on the map,” he said during an interview on Friday.

“Now, not only is the storm on the map, it’s heading this way.”

In May, the hurricane centre in Halifax warned of another active storm season, with Robichaud noting that the COVID-19 pandemic could make it difficult for people to prepare for rough weather.

Above-normal hurricane season

Earlier this year, the U.S.-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also predicted an above-normal Atlantic hurricane season.

The American agency said it was expecting 13 to 19 named storms — six to 10 of which could become hurricanes. Teddy is the 19th named storm of the season.

Robichaud says various meteorological factors unfolding over the weekend could effect the storm’s intensity.

As the storm moves out of the Caribbean over the North Atlantic, it will be over colder water, causing it to lose some power, said Robichaud.

In addition, there is a high pressure area moving from the west into the Maritimes, bringing pleasant fall weather.

“That area of high pressure, if it remains very, very strong, it will deflect the storm off one way or another,” he explained.

The meteorologist said the potential hazards from Teddy are high winds and coastal storm surges.

Nova Scotia Power activated its emergency operations centre on Friday and announced it is mobilizing personnel and resources in advance of the storm’s arrival.

“We have been closely monitoring hurricane Teddy for several days and taking steps to prepare,” said Matt Drover, Nova Scotia Power’s storm lead.

The utility is encouraging customers to assemble an emergency kit that includes flashlights, a battery-powered radio and fresh water and to ensure backup generators are installed properly outdoors.

The province’s emergency management office issued a release on Friday also encouraging citizens to prepare in advance.

“Nova Scotians should also remember that they need to continue to follow COVID-19 public health direction as they prepare. Stores often have longer lineups in advance of a storm, and physical distancing of two metres and mask wearing are still required,” the agency said in a news release.

At this point, forecasters say the highest rainfall amounts are likely for the southern Maritimes and the south coast of Newfoundland with pounding surf and a storm surge possible for parts of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, the Magdalen Islands and Newfoundland.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 18, 2020.

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