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Hurricane Bill

Nova Scotia - Aug. 23 2009

In the surf

  • At one point, Hurricane Bill was a monstrous category 4 storm out in the Atlantic. It was poised to brush the coastline of Nova Scotia so I decided to head out for an intercept. Nova Scotia often receives the remnants of hurricanes but this one looked like it was going to strike as at least a category one storm. I teamed up with Mark Robinson and Cyclone Research Group founder, Tim Millar from Florida and we hit the road, driving for 2 days from Toronto to Halifax. We were then joined by Angry Planet producer, Peter Rowe.
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  • Hurricane Bill struck during daylight hours which is always preferable to a landfall at night. Conditions began to deteriorate in the morning and peaked in early afternoon as the storm brushed the coastline, bringing with it heavy rains, high winds and dangerous waves. We targeted the south coast from Halifax to Sherbrooke where the largest waves were forecast to be. At Lawrencetown Beach, a crowd had gathered to watch the hurricane and many of these people got quite the surprise whenever a large set of waves would come in and overwhelm the rocky barrier. The conditions were very dangerous since the waves could easily either sweep you out to sea or smash you into the rocks. Neither of which was desirable.
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  • The water had risen up past the beach and was smashing the wooden stairwell that led down to the beach. At one point while I was filming close to the waves, a large wave came in and slammed me with a 2X4 piece of the stairs with large nails sticking out of it. Luckily, the nails were on either side of the part of the wood that hit my leg. After that, It was time to continue down the coast.
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    Onlookers watching the waves. Numerous times, the water came up and over these rocks.

    Storm surge flowing onto the highway which eventually had to be closed.

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    Sea water flowing up the beach, past the rocks, over the dunes and flowing under our vehicles.

    Rocks that the storm surge had brought up onto the walkway.
  • Hurricane Bill ended up being less damaging than the people of Nova Scotia had been anticipating but it did knock out power to tens of thousands of people, created travel chaos and put many people in danger who ventured too close to the water. The authorities closed numerous roads and blocked off dangerous areas such as Peggy's Cove.
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    The waves carried all kinds of debris including seaweed, rocks and 2X4's with huge nails.

    Eying up the storm from my chase vehicle.

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    Bill as a category 4 hurricane with an impressive eye out in the Atlantic.

    The path of Hurricane Bill as it took aim on Atlantic Canada.