Nova Scotians stock up on food, propane and ‘storm chips’ as Hurricane Fiona approaches | Catch My Job


Nova Scotians are hitting the grocery stores in droves, stocking up on food, propane, batteries and water as Hurricane Fiona approaches.

Hurricane Fiona will make landfall in Atlantic Canada late Friday and early Saturday and is expected to bring “strong winds, heavy rain and storm surges [that] can cause power outages, flooding and significant damage,” according to the province of Nova Scotia.

Along with the necessities, many people took a bag or more of what has been strangely called “storm chips.” In 2015, a local CBS host joked that she was preparing for an incoming storm by buying chips. Now, buying storm chips has become a reliable barometer of bad weather in Nova Scotia. By Thursday afternoon, snack aisles were already depleted.

As they loaded groceries into the back of their car, Halifax roommates Yassine Yassine, Oky Kepeneck and Samuel Izedonmven explained that they were living in the university residence during Hurricane Dorian. This was their first time surviving a hurricane on their own. Along with more nutritious fare were the requisite chips.

“We get chips because you don’t put them in the fridge. So if electricity is cut off, we have food.”

Yassine Yassine, Oky Kepeneck and Samuel Izedonmven load goods before the storm. Photo by Moira Donovan

Meteorologists from Canada and the United States are weighing the track of Fiona, a Category 4 hurricane as of Wednesday morning, according to AccuWeather. The storm, which caused historic flooding in Puerto Rico earlier this week before hitting the Dominican Republic and the Turks and Caicos Islands, is currently moving north through the Atlantic Ocean. It is set to hit Atlantic Canada as it moves into a post-tropical storm. Quebec’s Lower North Shore and southeastern Labrador are expected to experience the storm early Sunday.

It is expected to grow as it moves towards Atlantic Canada, and will cover a large area: hurricane watches are in place for PEI, eastern Nova Scotia, western Newfoundland and Îles-de-la-Madeleine.

“Bermuda is expected to bear the brunt of Fiona’s wrath, but AccuWeather meteorologists are sounding the alarm for Atlantic Canada, which is expected to receive the full brunt of hurricane Fiona this weekend,” wrote Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist.

“Although the storm will not be a major hurricane by the time it reaches the Gulf St. Lawrence, some areas may be at risk due to extreme damage.”

Nova Scotians are hitting the grocery stores in droves, stocking up on food, propane, batteries and water as Hurricane Fiona approaches.

Ian Hubbard, a meteorologist at the Canadian Hurricane Center in Dartmouth, NS, said there was the potential for winds to reach as high as 140 kilometers per hour in eastern Nova Scotia, Cape Breton and parts of Prince Edward Island. Waves off Nova Scotia could reach higher than 10 metres, he said.

Brian Tang, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University at Albany, tweeted that Fiona “will likely be the storm of a generation for Nova Scotia.”

However, extreme weather is set to become more common worldwide due to climate change. The Nova Scotia government states: “Climate change is expected to bring warmer average temperatures, higher sea levels, more extreme rainfall and storm flooding, and more frequent and extreme storms. These changes will have many effects.” An Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report earlier this year found that Atlantic Canada is about to be hit hard by the effects of a hotter planet.

On Wednesday, ECCC Weather Newfoundland and Labrador said Fiona will hit the western and southwestern areas of the province the hardest, with significant winds, heavy rainfall and “very large waves and coastal storm surge” expected between Friday night and Sunday morning. .

For Prince Edward Island, the province’s Emergency Measures Organization said Fiona could be “comparable” to Hurricane Juan in 2004.

Homeless people will be hit particularly hard by the storm. Some emergency shelters are popping up in Nova Scotia. The province publish that an emergency shelter will open in Dartmouth on Friday and Saturday nights, with a city bus stopping near camps if people want rides to the shelter. The Church of St. Elizabeth Seton in Lower Sackville also acts as an emergency shelter.

PEI has announced similar plans, with some camp residents pointing to poor communication and access to support so far.

Cape Breton is expected to be hit particularly hard, said Regional Municipal Mayor Amanda McDougall in a press briefing on Wednesday afternoon. Plans are underway for an emergency shelter, he said.

“Cape Breton is like an island in the immediate impact zone. We have been through these types of events before, but my fear is not to this extent. The effects are going to be big, and they are going to be real and immediate,” he said.

At the briefing, Halifax Mayor Mike Savage said the storm “is going to hit us in the face.”

Around the same time, outside a Costco in a business park in Halifax, the line for propane was cutting down the parking lot. While in line, Dawn Colbon pointed to hurricane Juan as her reference for storm preparedness, but she had also been watching what Fiona had done to Puerto Rico, where the storm caused severe damage and left approx. a million people without power.

She didn’t think Nova Scotia would be hit so hard; still, she had spent the day putting away her patio furniture, taking whatever plants she could inside and helping her mother secure things on her property.

Taking in the low cloud ceiling above and the warm wind that whipped across the car park, Colbon noted that Fiona already seemed close. “You can feel it.”

— With files from Canadian Press


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