Hurricane Lee: Take whatever precautions you can to prepare and keep yourself safe, Premier

by | Sep 15, 2023

Government officials, NB Power urge New Brunswickers to heed warnings as Hurricane Lee bears down on Maritimes

By Theresa Blackburn, with files from Jim Dumville, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

With Hurricane Lee expecting to make landfall in the next 24 hours, officials with the EMO, Public Safety, NB Power, and the Premier of New Brunswick are warning people to batten down the hatches and stay safe.

The storm is expected to hit land as a Category 1 hurricane late Saturday, Sept. 16. Still, meteorologists say parts of the Maritimes will feel the effects earlier, with heavy rain and wind moving into the region Friday night.

Expected rainfall in some areas could be as high as 120 mm when the hurricane hits, with winds gusting between 90 and 120 km/h, causing high waves along the coast.

During a news conference in Fredericton on Friday afternoon, New Brunswick Emergency Measures Organization director Kyle Leavitt said Grand Manan and coastal Charlotte County could bear the brunt of the storm.

“Four to six-metre waves can be expected, and storm surge is a possibility,” said Leavitt.

Once the storm starts, emergency officials ask that people stay home and resist the urge to go out into the weather to capture photos or watch the waves. He also noted that Saturday could be “too late” to clean up around your home to buy supplies, buy gas, or prevent things like lawn furniture from becoming flying debris, urging people to prepare today.

Public Safety Minister Kris Austin asked New Brunswickers to follow EMO recommendations.

“Please do not underestimate what the storm could be, especially in relation to potential power outages,” Austin said, adding that he believed people are taking the danger seriously and was “encouraged to see that.”

NB Power has 700 individuals on standby and has opened its emergency operation centre. Approximately 300 crew members are stationed in and around the Fundy Isles and the Saint John Region, where storm damage is expected to be significant.

“Trees are currently in full-foilage. Saturated ground conditions increase the likelihood of trees falling. Knowing this, we have certified utility arbourists on standby to help,” said Nicole Poirier, NB Power’s Vice President of Operations.

New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs urged residents and visitors to follow EMO directives.

“You can see by the support that we have here today how seriously we are taking the event,” he said.

He noted that 12 regional EMO offices are ready to work with local authorities in those areas as needed. Higgs also said the province has a backup communications system to keep people informed.

“Take whatever precautions you can to prepare and keep yourself safe,” Higgs pleaded. “We need New Brunswickers and visitors to our province to do their part.”

The province has set up a Hurricane Lee website (www.gnb.ca/hurricane) for information on the storm and the province’s response.

Local response

Woodstock Mayor Trina Jones said town residents can stay abreast of local efforts on the Town of Woodstock website (www.town.woodstock.nb.ca).

Chief Operating Officer Andrew Garnett said town officials met on Wednesday to map out a response plan when needed.

“We had a meeting with police, fire and public works yesterday to ensure all departments are prepared and ready for anything that may arise,” he said. “All departments are continuing to monitor the storm and will through the weekend.”

Garnett said the town is working with the Red Cross to establish the AYR Motor Centre as a shelter if required, but the plan still needs to be implemented.

“If it gets to a point where these spots are needed, we will be informing the public of the next steps,” he said.

Hartland Fire Chief and council member Mike Walton said first responders, town staff and emergency measures officials will remain on alert until the storm threat passes.

He said the Hartland fire hall and community centres in Coldstream and Lakeville will serve as shelters and charging stations if required.

All officials stressed the importance of preparations before the storm hits.

All residents should secure their property.
— Bring in furniture and other items that the wind can toss around.
— Seal basement windows and doors.
— Trim and remove damaged trees and blankets
— Clear storm drains and gutters
— Ensure sump pumps are working
The Woodstock website storm stresses the importance of preparing an emergency kit, outlining what is needed. That includes
— 2 litres of water per person per day
— Non-perishable food
— Manual can opener
— Battery or cranked-power radio
— Prescription medications
— Specialty items. E.g., infant formula, pet food, etc.
— First aid kit
— Flashlight
— Candles, matches or a lighter
— Batteries
— Cash (ATMs may not be operational)
— Spare keys
— Copies of your emergency plan
— Copies of important papers like your driver’s license, birth certificate and insurance papers.

For road conditions, click the map

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