Conditions in Halifax are quickly deteriorating as Hurricane Dorian approaches the province.
As of 3 p.m. the storm was 265 km southwest of Halifax, according to the Canadian Hurricane Centre (CHC) with an intensity of 150 km/h, which is on the higher end of the Category 1 range.
The U.S.-based National Hurricane Center says Dorian has transitioned to a post-tropical cyclone as it approaches Halifax. However the center is stressing that does not mean the storm has weakened, and it remains at hurricane strength.
In a late afternoon update, meteorologist Bob Robichaud says landfall is expected sometime in the Halifax area early to mid-evening hours and we've already received hurricane-force wind gusts.
"We might see a little bit of a lull here in the Halifax area as the centre of the storm approaches, but as it starts to pull away later this evening, I think those westerly winds behind it will be something to watch as well, and they could gust in excess of 100 for sure," Robichaud explained.
The Canadian Hurricane Centre says gusts could reach 150 km/h in some spots, especially the coastal areas.
High winds have toppled trees, blown around construction materials and damaged buildings in the region.
Thousands in Halifax Regional Municipality have already lost power.
In these extreme conditions, Nova Scotia Power crews are currently in a safety standing, meaning they won't be safely able to start repairs until gusts die down below 90 km/h.
The utility says customers should treat all downed lines as electrified.
"Please stay away from downed electrical equipment and report lines and fallen trees to us at 1-877-428-6004," said the utility on Twitter. "If you are concerned about an immediate public or personal safety risk, please call 911."
Between 60 and 120 mm of rain could call over central Nova Scotia, and Environment Canada warns a lot of rain in a short period of time could cause a lot of problems, including road washouts and localized flooding.
RCMP are asking Nova Scotians to avoid unnecessary travel during the storm and Halifax Transit has already stopped running.
A rainfall warning and storm surge warning are in effect for the Halifax area and a storm surge warning was added to the list of weather advisories this afternoon.
"We were close to some of the storm surge warning thresholds before, and we did get some reports of waves crashing over some areas along the coast, so we issued the storm surge warning for that part of the coast line," Robichaud explained.
Waves of 7 to 10 metres will reach the Southwestern Shore during the day, then spread to the Eastern Shore tonight.
Halifax Regional Municipality has identified coastal communities in the Sambro area, Peggys Cove, and along the Eastern Shore as "high-risk areas." Residents are being asked to voluntarily evacuate.
The municipality has set up three evacuation shelters at the Dartmouth East Community Centre, Canada Games Centre, and St. Margarets Centre, opening at noon on Saturday.
Several events have already been cancelled or postponed due to Dorian.
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