Wet, windy weekend

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — Although it seems unlikely tropical storm Nicole will have a large impact on P.E.I., it’s still possible residents could see some power outages and damage to infrastructure.

On Nov. 9, the Emergency Measures Organization updated its tropical cyclone public alert for Kings, Queens and Prince counties about the current track of the storm system.

Currently, it is still expected to brush past western P.E.I. starting late Nov. 12 and continuing Nov. 13, bringing wind and rain before making its way to northwest towards Newfoundland.

Rainfall across the province could be in the 50-100 millimetre range along the track of the storm, as well as to the north. Strong winds are not anticipated, but there could be wind gusts of about 70 kilometres per hour in all three counties.

Elevated water levels and wave activity are likely in the northern Gulf of St Lawrence affecting northeastern New Brunswick and possibly causing some minor flooding. P.E.I. could see swells of up to three metres in some areas.

Dan Bedell, communications director for the Canadian Red Cross in P.E.I., told SaltWire Network in an interview on Nov. 9 that the public should be mindful of the storm as it could still change.

“A storm that otherwise might be a typical fall storm could be more severe this time just because of the damage caused by Fiona,” said Bedell.

As of Nov. 9, thousands of trees remain down across the province, while many power lines across the province are still in the process of being cleared of overhanging branches.

“After Fiona, we’re much more aware of the kind of damage that storms can inflict, and it seems to be increasing in scope and intensity,” said Bedell.

Emergency response teams will be on standby throughout the province going into the weekend, and the public is being advised to follow the standard storm-safety procedures listed on the Red Cross website.

Here are some storm preparedness advisories from the Canadian Red Cross:

“It’s the same preparedness message we would give in advance of any major storm,” said Bedell.

“We’ll have our teams out and we’re ready to assist where need be.”

Kim Griffin, spokesperson for Maritime Electric told SaltWire Network on Nov. 9 that the utility spent the day notifying all 40 electrical service crews in the province in case the storm is worse than expected.

“Today, we made sure our crews were aware there could be a potential situation this weekend, and they should be prepared,” said Griffin.

It is unlikely the province will experience another Fiona-type scenario, where some residents went almost four weeks without power.

In the event Nicole causes outages, considering the number of damaged trees still in close proximity to lines around the province, Maritime Electric contact centres will be opened and crews will be on the road.

The public is being asked to prepare for this and report any outages on the Maritime Electric website or by phone.

“The storm is a concern, but based on the update from Environment Canada, we’re feeling a bit more optimistic than some of the reports we heard yesterday,” said Griffin.

“As we get closer to Thursday, I think we’ll see what it’s going to look like, but we’re asking people to assure they are prepared over the next few days,” she said.

Rafe Wright, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Guardian