Cana­di­ans in Florence’s path pre­pare for worst

The Recorder & Times (Brockville) - - NATIONAL NEWS - MICHAEL Mac­DON­ALD

Cana­dian James Hrynyshyn and his fam­ily were draw­ing up emer­gency lists and charg­ing bat­tery­op­er­ated de­vices on Wed­nes­day, among the mil­lions dili­gently pre­par­ing for hur­ri­cane Florence, a mon­ster storm that’s an­tic­i­pated to make land­fall in the Caroli­nas early Satur­day.

“It’s com­ing straight for us,” said Hrynyshyn, who grew up in Dry­den, Ont., and moved to Saluda, N.C., 13 years ago.

“Saluda is right in the mid­dle of the cone.”

The gov­er­nors of North Carolina, South Carolina and Vir­ginia have is­sued manda­tory evac­u­a­tion orders for many coastal coun­ties ahead of Florence, which was clos­ing in with ter­ri­fy­ing winds of 215 kph and po­ten­tially cat­a­strophic rain and storm surge.

Ottawa is warn­ing Cana­di­ans to avoid all travel to that stretch of the U.S. East Coast.

Global Af­fairs Canada is­sued a state­ment Wed­nes­day say­ing the ar­eas to be avoided ex­tend from Edisto Beach in South Carolina to the North Carolina-Vir­ginia border, in­clud­ing Pam­lico Sound and Albe­marle Sound.

“Every­body is talk­ing about it,” said Hrynyshyn, adding the lo­cal gas sta­tion ran out of fuel ear­lier in the day and the lo­cal elec­tric­ity util­ity has dis­patched work crews to the coast.

How­ever, he said there’s a good chance the storm will blow it­self out by the time it reaches his home near the Blue Ridge Moun­tains, about 380 kilo­me­tres from the coast.

His main con­cern is heavy down­pours. Some fore­casts were call­ing for more than 200 mil­lime­tres of rain in the west­ern part of the state.

“It’s hard to know how se­ri­ous to take it ... but peo­ple are still wor­ried,” said Hrynyshyn, a 53-yearold com­mu­ni­ca­tions con­sul­tant who spe­cial­izes in cli­mate sci­ence.

“Ap­par­ently there’s a lot of un­cer­tainty at this point.”

In May, the Saluda area was hit by two rain­storms within 48 hours, caus­ing mud­slides that left three peo­ple dead, he said. “It’s pretty un­usual for us to have ex­treme weather,” Hrynyshyn said. “But like every­body else, we’re ex­pe­ri­enc­ing more ex­tremes than we used to ... I don’t ex­pect to get a cat­a­strophic amount of rain, but no­body pre­dicted the mas­sive amount of rain that we got in May.”

Mean­while, com­mu­ni­ties along the Caroli­nas’ coast pre­pared for the ex­pected ar­rival of Florence, as fore­cast­ers warned the mas­sive storm could stall over the area and dump a tremen­dous amount of rain through the week­end.

In a video­taped mes­sage from the White House, Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump said the gov­ern­ment was fully pre­pared for Florence but urged peo­ple to “get out of its way.”

The Na­tional Hur­ri­cane Cen­ter in Mi­ami said the storm was ex­pected to hover along the south­ern edge of the North Carolina coast from Thurs­day night un­til mak­ing land­fall Satur­day morn­ing.

As well, Global Af­fairs said Wed­nes­day Cana­di­ans should avoid trav­el­ling to parts of the Caribbean, in­clud­ing Do­minica, Guade­loupe and Mar­tinique, be­cause trop­i­cal storm Isaac is headed in that di­rec­tion.

“If you re­side in the af­fected ar­eas, you should ex­er­cise cau­tion, mon­i­tor lo­cal news and weather reports and fol­low the in­struc­tions of lo­cal au­thor­i­ties, in­clud­ing evac­u­a­tion orders,” the depart­ment said in a state­ment that also ad­vised trav­ellers to down­load the gov­ern­ment’s free Travel Smart app to get up­dated travel ad­vice.

“Cana­di­ans should con­tact their loved ones who may be in harm’s way to en­sure that they are aware of the lat­est rec­om­men­da­tions.”

It’s com­ing straight for us. Saluda is right in the mid­dle of the cone.”

James Hrynyshyn

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