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Forecast models show hurricane Teddy could hit Maritimes next week


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.

The storm was churning northward southeast of Bermuda on Friday, with maximum wind speeds over 200 kilometres per hour.

A forecast from the centre said Teddy will approach the Maritimes early next week with impacts likely for parts of the region on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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.

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.

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.

"Those are the things people need to begin to think about as we head into the weekend," he said.

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.

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

Michael Tutton, The Canadian Press

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