SUMMERSIDE – Rick MacSwain and a friend were in Charlottetown when they heard a tropical storm was coming.
MacSwain’s friend had just purchased a boat in Pictou, N.S. and the two men sailed to Charlottetown but when they got word of the impending storm, they came to the Silver Fox Curling and Yacht Club.
“We knew the storm was coming so we tucked in here,” MacSwain said “We were told that this is the safest harbour east of Montreal. This boat is 60-feet long so we want it to be well protected. Well be here until the storm passes.”
Robbie Rankin, co-manager of the Silver Fox Curling and Yacht Club said they are taking precautions to ensure everything is secure at the marina when tropical storm Arthur hits.
“We had a warning letter that went out to all of our members to secure their boats with extra lines and take down anything that may be blown away,” he said. “We will go down and secure all docks with extra lines. We're pretty sheltered here but will take every precaution to make sure the boats are safe.”
Prince Edward Island is lying in the direct path of Arthur as it makes it way through the Maritime provinces after battering the eastern U.S. seaboard as a category two hurricane.
Chris Fogarty, manager of the Canadian Hurricane Centre and meteorologist Bob Robichaud outlined Friday what the Maritimes can expect from the storm
“It looks like we’re not going to have nearly as much rain in Nova Scotia and P.E.I. as we’re going to see up in New Brunswick,” Fogarty said. “Somebody (in New Brunswick from St. Stephen to Bathurst) will probably get about 150 millimetres. Here, (Halifax) it might be as little as 20 millimetres. In P.E.I., 40 to 50 (millimetres of rain) but that’s going to come very quickly and probably in the overnight period and then the winds come in, probably with a few showers.”
New data is causing changes in the predictions for P.E.I.
“We’ll probably be increasing our wind in the forecast for Prince Edward Island based on some latest things that were seeing in the satellite imagery and the computer modeling,” Fogarty said. “They’ll probably get some higher winds there. We have a wind warning issued there now for 90 km/h gust, maybe even 100 km/h. It’s going to be a pretty nasty day over there.”
The path of Arthur has been changed and Prince County will see the heaviest rainfall.
“Right now, the thinking is a bit (the storm will travel) north of what we had in our previous forecasts for the track,” Fogarty said. “The centre is likely to cross likely near the middle of the province. Wherever the centre of the storm goes is probably the area that’s going to have the least impact. The track of centre means heaviest rain will likely occur over Prince County and the northerly winds with this storm will pretty much spread all of Prince Edward Island.”
He said there will be a period overnight and early tomorrow that Charlottetown and the eastern part of the Island will get a brief two-hour period of very heavy rain.
“The worst of the rain will be early in the day, Saturday, and in the afternoon and well into the evening will be these higher winds gusting to 90 km/h possibly 100 km/h,” Fogarty said.
Summerside police and fire services are keeping a close eye on the track of the storm.
Fire Chief Jim Peters said the department has a crew on duty during the weekends in the summer so they will be prepared for any eventuality.
Deputy Police Chief Sinclair Walker said one of the things officers will be watching for are downed trees and tree limbs and any damage these may cause to power lines.
As of noon, Friday, the storm was located about 530 kilometres to the southwest of Massachusetts
“The maximum sustained winds were at 150 km/h, that’s a category one range for hurricanes,” Robichaud said. “The forward motion has increased in speed over the last 12 hours. It’s now moving northeastward at about 40 km/h and we expect the storm to continue to track towards the Maritimes throughout the day and into overnight.”
Robichaud said Arthur is projected make landfall off Nova Scotia as a strong tropical storm Saturday morning.
He said with less than 24 hours before landfall, projections are the storm may track anywhere from the Bay of Fundy to the extreme southwestern part of Nova Scotia.
“We can expect heavy rains and strong winds,” he said. “With this particular one we’re looking at the heaviest rainfall to be over New Brunswick and the strongest winds to be over Nova Scotia.”