We’re all okay
Cranbrook ex-pats weather Hurricane Dorian
By Delaney Kunitz-Martin
Maritimers are no strangers to a good old fashioned storm. In fact, most of the time they don’t even bat an eye. But even the heartiest of East Coasters took heed to prepare for Hurricane Dorian, the memory of Hurricane Juan lingering in the backs of their minds.
For us, relatively newly christened East Coasters, we weren’t too sure of what to expect. We weren’t here for Hurricane Juan, though from the first day we arrived we heard about the destruction left behind. Do we go full apocalypse preparations? Fill the bathtub with water and squirrel away SPAM and creamed corn? Or do we do what everyone else is doing: filling up their growlers with good craft beer and buying a cart load of storm chips?
We did a healthy mix of the two to prepare for the arrival of Dorian.
We bought storm chips (the loving moniker of any chips you purchase to eat during a storm, go figure), filled every container we could find with fresh water, stocked up on cat food (for the cat, not for us – though, desperate times…), and bought as many candles and lighters as we could get our hands on. We busted out a new puzzle. We closed the windows, brought the patio furniture inside, and hunkered down. Work was cancelled, buildings shut down, police blockades set up to stop people from taking seaside roads near Sambro and Peggy’s Cove. Evacuation orders were sent out to coastal communities. Even the Halifax Waterfront was blocked off.
Friday evening ticked by in nervous anticipation and an eerie quiet. It was, quite literally, the calm before the storm. Saturday morning dawned grey and cold, a mounting wind starting to shake the leaves on the oak trees across the street. We knew Dorian was supposed to make landfall around dinner time, so we occupied ourselves by making a hot breakfast while we still had power.
That was around 10:30 a.m. By 12:05 p.m., we had no power and the wind was splintering branches and toppling the trees of our neighbourhood.
Still seven hours from landfall, debris was scattering down the street, torrential rain like nothing we’ve seen on the west coast of the country pounding the windows. Despite mentally preparing for how wild the weather might be, we were startled by the violence of it.
Social media was lit up by post after post of downed power lines, brave emergency responders careening down the roads through 155 km/h wind gusts, and far too many videos of stupid people standing near the shoreline being engulfed by 15m waves. If we learned one thing, it’s to not underestimate how powerful a hurricane can be.
(For the record, don’t do that. Don’t stand on the black rocks at Peggy’s Cove, not even on a clear day. But especially don’t mess with the Atlantic during a hurricane. It’s not cool. Everyone who lives out here thinks you’re dumb when you do that.)
By the time the eye of the storm swallowed us in Halifax, a crane had toppled onto a (blessedly) unoccupied building, cars had been crushed by falling trees, and a roof near us had been peeled clean off a building and pancaked cars in a nearby parking lot. Sidewalks have been cracked and upended, power crews from across the provinces have been flown in to help. We’re about 42 hours with no power as I write this.
But you know what? We’re all okay; certainly more than can be said for the Bahamas, who suffered the wrath of Hurricane Dorian at a Category 5 when all we got was a tired Category 2. Peanuts, comparatively.
In the wake of what has now been affectionately named Hurricane Donair (an ever-popular Halifax food staple with infamous sauce – come visit and try it), people have flooded the streets to help their neighbours clean up branches and rake leaves. Kids have set up lemonade stands to raise funds for the Red Cross. Everyone and their dog has lined up at Tim Hortons to get a post-storm double double (though if you come visit to get that donair, I recommend Weird Harbour for a good coffee). Business as usual here in the Maritimes.
Delaney Kunitz-Martin and husband Curtis are Mount Baker Secondary School graduates.