Being prepared

Darrell Cole
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How will the next Juan impact Cumberland County?

UPPER NAPPAN - It may only be a matter of time before the next hurricane Juan makes a direct hit on Cumberland County.

Being ready for it is what the county's EMO co-ordinator Jim Hannon thinks about almost every day. He knows it's going to happen, he just doesn't know when.

"Our chances of being impacted by a severe storm are more likely than an air crash, major spills or fires. It only makes sense that we should fully understand these weather phenomena and get as much information as we can to help prepare for them," Hannon said.

Emergency Management Organization Nova Scotia and the Environment Department will be hosting a joint presentation Tuesday at ARHS that will show the potential impact of a Juan-like storm on the county. The presentation begins at 7 p.m. and will feature Carloyne Marshall from the hurricane tracking centre, meteorologist Bob Robichaud and Dominic Fewer from EMO Nova Scotia.

Juan caused more than $200 million in damage and eight fatalities when it roared ashore as a Category 2 storm near Halifax in September 2003. Hannon said a slight change in course could have had serious repercussions for Cumberland County.

Presenters will explain what hurricanes are, how they are formed and how they move. "This hasn't been put together to frighten people but as an educational tool to help me do my planning and for exercises down the road," he said, adding the presentation will include a discussion about preparations before such a storm and how resources would be utilized afterwards.

"There are a phenomenal amount of hurricanes that come through our area and it's just luck that we don't get hit as often as we could," Hannon said, adding the presenters will look back through history at some of the major storms that have come through the including the famed Saxby Gale.

Hannon said Juan provided a wakeup call for EMO officials and changed they way they. It also helped raise awareness that major storms can happen here.

"We want people in Cumberland County to realize we're in an area that can be hit by very severe storms and it's not something we should take lightly," Hannon said. "From this, we hope that emergency responders can become focused on being prepared for them because they're going to happen."

Organizations: Management Organization Nova Scotia, Environment Department

Geographic location: Cumberland County, UPPER NAPPAN, Halifax

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