On Wednesday afternoon, Environment Canada added a rainfall warning to the snowfall, wind and storm surge warnings already in effect for Halifax.
A rapidly intensifying winter storm is heading towards the Maritimes.
Snow is expected to change to rain in southwestern Nova Scotia and along parts of the Atlantic coast fairly quickly, but inland, up to 20 centimetres mixed with ice pellets could fall.
The deep freeze the province has been experiencing could cause flooding in areas as the ground may not be able to absorb rainfall.
Total rainfall amounts of 30 to 50 millimetres are expected.
Environment Canada is also warning of damaging wind gusts, which could reach hurricane strength in some areas.
Easterly gusts to 100 kilometres an hour are forecast for the province, but exposed areas near the coast could see winds reach 130-140 kilometres an hour.
Damage to coastal infrastructure is also a possibility along the Atlantic coast with large waves and storm surge a threat, especially during high tide Thursday evening.
Environment Canada recommends staying away from shorelines and flooding roads.
Some forecasters are using the term "bombogenesis" to describe this system. Rogers media meteorologist Russ Lacate said it's a term reserved for the most rapidly developing storms.
"Central pressure dropping by more than 24 millibars in 24 hours resulting in a weather bomb," he explained.
POWER CREWS PREPARE
Nova Scotia Power is preparing its emergency operations centre ahead of the storm, but is warning customers to prepare for outages.
President and CEO Karen Hutt says they have over 1,000 people ready to respond, including frontline crews, damage assessors, planners, engineers, support staff, and customer care representatives, however crews won't be able to start restoring power until it's safe to do so.
When winds are gusting above 80 kilometres and hour, staff will make an on-site safety assessment.
"Customers should be prepared for power outages lasting through the weekend, and perhaps into early next week," said Hutt in a news release. "Freezing temperatures are predicted, so please plan for the safety of yourself and your family."
The utility will be opening its payment depots across the province, including its head office at 1223 Lower Water Street in Halifax, so those who have lost power can warm up and recharge their devices.
Nova Scotia Power is encouraging customers to plan ahead and has offered up the following tips:
- Monitoring local weather forecasts
- Having an emergency kit that includes flashlights, a battery-powered radio and fresh water
- Ensuring backup generators are installed properly outdoors
- Charging electronic device
- If you lose power, turn off and unplug electrical equipment, such as televisions and computers to prevent damage when power is restored.
- Visit www.nspower.ca/stormready for a full list of safety and storm preparedness tips.
Downed power wires can be reported to Nova Scotia Power at 1-877-428-6004. If there is an immediate public or personal safety risk, they say call 911.
Halifax's Emergency Management Office is also preparing for the storm, and is asking residents to do the same.
EMO Coordinator Barry Manuel says it is important to ensure you're self-sufficient for 72 hours, including food that's ready to eat.
"Food that doesn't need to be cooked, things like bread and canned goods," he said. "Make sure you have a manual can opener."
With powerful winds expected along the coast on Thursday night, Manuel says it's important to make sure outdoor items are either stored away, or placed in a way the wind wont catch them. This includes things like bird feeders, patio furniture and Christmas decorations.
The EMO will also open emergency centres if necessary.