Tropical storm Nicole to pass close to P.E.I.

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — P.E.I. is watching the track of the second major storm of the 2022 hurricane season to affect Atlantic Canada.

On Nov. 8, a tropical cyclone information statement was issued for all three counties in the province by Environment Canada, warning residents to prepare for a weekend of potential heavy wind and rain as tropical storm Nicole makes its way north towards Newfoundland.

The storm system formed late over the weekend into Nov. 7, near Bermuda. It is expected to strengthen to a Category 1 hurricane before making landfall on Florida’s east coast on Wednesday night into Thursday morning.

From there, the storm system will move up the eastern seaboard, transitioning back into a post-tropical storm before moving through Atlantic Canada over the weekend.

SaltWire Network’s weather specialist Allister Aalders said during an interview on Nov. 8 that by the time the storm reaches P.E.I., it will have lost most of its strength, but it could still bring significant weather.

“Right now, our projections are fairly consistent that the centre of the storm will move up towards the Maritimes this weekend with rain and wind,” said Aalders. “Be prepared for wind and rain."

The current course has a tropical low-pressure system moving over the great lakes region before passing through New Brunswick and into Nova Scotia Saturday evening going into Sunday.

Prince County will likely feel the brunt of the bad weather, with 30-50 millimetres of rain projected and southerly wind gusts anywhere from 60-90 kilometres per hour expected throughout the day.

Queens and Kings counties could see similar conditions, but will likely see about 10-30 millimetres of rain, with gusts up to about 60 kilometres per hour.

Storm surges along the north shore are expected to reach a maximum height of one to three metres.

Although it will be a nasty weekend of weather, it is not a storm system that residents in P.E.I. should be overly concerned about, said Aalders.

“It’s going to be wet and windy but also nothing that we’re not used to for a fall weather system,” he said.

For the storm to get worse before reaching the Maritimes, drastic events would have to take place.

It certainly won’t be close to the extent of what the province dealt with from post-tropical storm Fiona, Aalders added.

“Nicole would have to somehow pull out over the Atlantic and regain a whole lot of energy before it would strengthen into anything significant again,” he said.

“This should be a weakening but still powerful system once it gets up to our neck of the woods.”

The province is still reeling from the impact Fiona left on the province on Sept. 23-24.

The storm caused major damage across the entire province, leaving thousands of residents without power for several weeks.

On Nov 7., gusts of wind reaching up to 70 kilometres per hour knocked out power to over 10,000 P.E.I. residents.

Kim Griffin, senior communications officer for Maritime Electric told SaltWire Network during an interview on Nov. 8 the outages were caused by compromised trees from Fiona falling on power lines.

“We’re still doing post-Fiona cleanup in terms of trying to either cut trees or working in areas and cutting back branches to check our systems,” said Griffin.

Although the storm this weekend is looking like it could lead to outages, Maritime Electric has not made any decisions yet as to if it will have extra crews on standby.

It plans to provide further updates on their storm response plan on Nov. 9

“We’re five days out. That said, we’re not taking anything for granted,” said Griffin.

The storm system is expected to pass through the Northumberland Strait, affecting P.E.I. starting Saturday evening, Nov. 12. Environment Canada will also provide a cyclone update on its website Nov. 9.

Rafe Wright, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Guardian