HALIFAX - Hurricane Dorian was on a northeast track off the U.S. east coast Friday as people in Atlantic Canada braced for the massive storm's arrival.
The Category 1 storm was moving at around 22 kilometres per hour and was expected to remain a hurricane as it swept up the eastern seaboard, reaching Nova Scotia Saturday.
As a result, the Canadian Hurricane Centre said a hurricane watch was in effect for all of Nova Scotia and tropical storm watches were also in effect for southeastern New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, the Magdalen Islands and western Newfoundland.
Fishermen along Nova Scotia's Atlantic Coast were expressing worries about Dorian's potential strength as boats were moved to sheltered areas and tied together tightly.
"There's a huge amount of activity around the dock," said Evan d'Entremont, the 60-year-old owner of Evans Fresh Seafoods in West Pubnico, on Nova Scotia's southwestern coast, home to one of Canada's busiest areas of commercial fishing.
"Hopefully, we won't have too many tidal surges," d"Entremont said. "That's the killer down here."
Most vessels in the area had returned to the wharfs by Friday afternoon. Fishermen tied them up together in long rows with secure lines and thick bumpers.
"There's not too much you can do," said Jamey Mood, 38, a fisherman who lives in West Pubnico.
"You have to make sure your bow and stern lines are doubled and tripled up and make sure your extra bumpers are out so that you don't beat the other boats all to pieces .... Some boats are tied five in a row."
Like most Nova Scotians, Mood was also busy buying propane for the barbecue, gasoline for the car and laying in a three-day store of water and non-perishable food. He said he's also sharpening his chainsaw, expecting that when wind takes down trees he'll be called upon to help clean up the debris.
Meanwhile, Max Kenney, the harbourmaster of the Cape Sable Island Harbour Authority, said his island — the southernmost point of Nova Scotia — regularly weathers gusts over 120 kilometres per hour in the winter.
But if the winds are stronger than that and sustained, while seas rise and tides pound, he's concerned aging port infrastructure on the eastern side of the island will be ripped apart.
He estimated 90 per cent of the island's 250 fishing vessels have been moved from the eastern side, which faces the Atlantic Ocean, to seek shelter on the western side.
"On the eastern side of our island the wharfs are 50 to 60 years old and they have been repaired rather than replaced, while our boats for lobster fishing have gotten larger and longer," said Kenney. "The wharfs just won't stand it. I've always said, 'We're one big storm from a disaster,' especially on that side of the island with the conditions of the wharf."
The most likely track projection brings hurricane Dorian south of the Maritimes on Saturday, with the storm pushing through eastern Nova Scotia Saturday night, and then over the eastern Gulf of St. Lawrence or western Newfoundland by Sunday morning.
The forecast was calling for severe winds and torrential rain, with a major impacts for southeastern New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, western Newfoundland and Quebec's Lower North Shore.
Large waves were expected for the Atlantic coasts of Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and for eastern portions of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, while a storm surge, combined with large waves and pounding surf, could cause flooding in parts of Nova Scotia, P.E.I., Newfoundland, and the Magdalen Islands.
Tropical storm force winds of 90 to 110 kilometres per hour were expected Saturday morning over southwestern Nova Scotia and in the afternoon over eastern parts of the province before moving on in the evening to P.E.I., the Magdalen Islands and southwestern Newfoundland.
The highest rainfall amounts — 50 to 100 millimetres — were expected over Nova Scotia, P.E.I. and the Magdalen Islands.