The centre of post-tropical storm Teddy made landfall in eastern Nova Scotia this morning, delivering another round of punishing winds and heavy rain — almost a day after its outer bands started lashing the Maritimes.
Bob Robichaud, a meteorologist at the Canadian Hurricane Centre in Halifax, said the centre of the sprawling, ragged storm had come ashore near Sheet Harbour, about 115 kilometres east of Halifax, and was still passing overhead by 9:30 a.m. local time.
“It’s making landfall as we speak,” Robichaud said in an interview. “The strongest winds that are associated with the storm itself are still offshore.”
On Hart Island, which is north of Canso at the eastern edge of the mainland, a peak gust of 107 kilometres per hour was recorded at 10 a.m. local time.
— Nathan Coleman (@NateTWN) September 23, 2020
And as Teddy trudged its way toward Prince Edward Island, Robichaud said the storm’s lower half wouldn’t let Nova Scotia go with another powerful swat.
Gusts reaching 100 kilometres per hour were in the forecast for later this morning and this afternoon, he said.
“That tip near Canso is probably going to see the strongest winds — and eastern Cape Breton,” Robichaud said.
Despite Teddy’s arrival in Nova Scotia, the sheltered harbours along the eastern shore appeared to be weathering the storm. In East Chezzetcook harbour, about 40 kilometres east of Halifax, fishing vessels were bobbing slightly in choppy waves, but the storm was having little impact.
In Guysborough, N.S., at about 10:15 a.m. local time, municipal councillor Sheila Pelly said the storm seemed far less severe than post-tropical storm Dorian, which knocked out power for 500,000 people across the Maritimes last September.
“It’s not raining hard by any means,” she said. “It’s windy… It’s much calmer than Dorian. I think it’s not as bad as it was thought it might be. Not in this area anyway.”
Still, thousands of homes and businesses across Nova Scotia lost power overnight.
By 10:30 a.m., about 7,000 Nova Scotia Power customers were in the dark. But it was clear that the pattern of the outages had shifted from western Nova Scotia to southeastern Cape Breton, where almost 2,700 were without electricity.
Schools were closed, public transit in Halifax was suspended until noon, many flights were cancelled but no major damage was reported — aside from downed and damaged trees and power lines.
“I haven’t seen much in the way of impacts,” Robichaud said. “Nothing out of the ordinary for this type of storm.”
Hurricane Teddy was reclassified as a post-tropical storm overnight, but that change doesn’t mean Teddy has become a weakling. The designation refers to the structure of the storm, not its strength.
Meanwhile, storm surge warnings remain in effect for Nova Scotia’s eastern shore.
On Tuesday night, citizens living in high-risk locations in the Sambro area, Peggy’s Cove and along the eastern shore were asked by Halifax Regional Municipality to voluntarily evacuate their homes.
The Canadian Hurricane Centre and provincial officials made it clear storm surges were their main concern, especially with waves reaching eight metres just offshore.
Though residents were warned to stay away from the coast, photos on social media and on web cameras showed plenty of gawkers on the rocks at Peggy’s Cove and near the sprawling beaches at Lawrencetown, an area east of Halifax.
The storm was expected to track over the eastern half of Prince Edward Island before moving on to southwestern Newfoundland later today.
Residents of southwestern Newfoundland have been warned to watch for a storm surge, but the wind and rain wasn’t expected to pose much of a threat.
Marine Atlantic, the Crown corporation that operates the ferry service linking Nova Scotia with Newfoundland, cancelled all sailings across the Cabot Strait on Wednesday.
© The Canadian Press