Hurricane Dorian is expected to have an impact on the Maritimes later this week, with the National Hurricane Center in Miami indicating hurricane-force winds could strike Nova Scotia’s Atlantic coast on the weekend.
The deadly hurricane is still battering the Bahamas, causing extensive flooding and damage.
In an interview just after 9 a.m. Monday, meteorologist with the Canadian Hurricane Centre, Bob Robichaud, said the now Category 3 storm been stationary for the last 18 hours near Grand Bahama.
However, in the next day or so, Dorian is expected to start picking up speed and make a turn to the north-northeast, tracking towards the Maritimes.
“Some models bring it very close to, if not actually making landfall in Nova Scotia, others keep it somewhat offshore,” Robichaud explained. “What does seem to be consistent at this time, there is an area of very strong winds associated with this storm.”
Forecasters should have a better idea of how it will track past the Maritimes in the next few days, but at this point, he said it could shift up to 400 km in either direction.
“This storm, wherever it happens to go, will be accompanied by very strong winds and heavy rain,” he said. “And if it does make landfall, coastal flooding and waves might be an issue we have to contend with.”
“If this thing for whatever reason decides to take a turn way offshore, we might not get anything, but it’s not looking like it’s going to go that far offshore. It’s looking more likely we will see something out of this.”
Robichaud said another significant factor that will contribute to Dorian’s impact on Nova Scotia is what the storm does when it reaches the Carolinas.
“If the storm makes landfall in the Carolinas, the further inland it would go, the weaker it would get before it actually moves towards us,” he said. “If it stays over the water, again we’re probably looking at a pretty significant storm and the time frame would be late Friday at the earliest, but more likely during the day on Saturday.”
Dorian is expected to be a post-tropical storm by the time it reaches us, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be less intense when it gets here.
“When we’re talking about post-tropical, it simply means the structure of the storm is different than a purely tropical storm,” Robichaud explained.
“The National Hurricane Centre has the storm as a hurricane-strength post-tropical storm just off the coast of Cape Breton in 5 days, so even if it does become post-tropical, we would still be looking at a pretty significant storm.”
Robichaud said 2012’s Hurricane Sandy officially had post-tropical status when it slammed into New Jersey with maximum sustained winds of around 128 km/h.
The Canadian Hurricane Centre is encouraging Maritimers to keep a close eye in the forecast heading into the weekend.