Storm, what storm?
Tuesday November 06th 2007, 10:07 am

If it wasn’t for the newspapers and television news reports, I wouldn’t know that Nova Scotia had been hit by a post tropical depression called Noel on Saturday night. For days before it hit, we had been told by the media to get ready. Nova Scotia had been hit so hard by Hurricane Juan in September 2003, that we weren’t taking any chances with this one. Fortunately for most of us, unless you lived along the coast of Nova Scotia, there was very little damage done by this storm. This was unlike the devastation this storm caused in the Caribbean last week when it was still a hurricane.

The only thing I noticed in my yard was that any leaves which were still on the trees had been blown off and down the street onto someone else’s property. In some areas the high winds damaged a few buildings which probably had poorly installed siding or roof shingles. As always with wind storms, trees and power lines were damaged, so several people lost their power for a day or two. The media, as always, kept showing the same pictures over and over again, trying to sensationize it to make a more newsworthy story.

The most damage was by far to coastal areas along the south shore and the eastern shore of Nova Scotia and to Cape Breton. Some damage was done to a few roads, which were built too close to the ocean. There was also beach erosion and damage to boats and wharves. Fortunately, most of us slept through the storm, and didn’t realize there was any damage until we read our morning newspapers.

There is no doubt that with global warming we will be getting more frequent and more severe storms. The only thing we can do is prepare for them. We are lucky we have a good weather forecasting system in place which gives us enough time to prepare. As far as natural disasters go, I would sooner have the occasional tropical storm or reduced strength hurricane, than the more frequent floods, tornadoes, landslides or ice and hail storms in other parts of Canada. I have a map which was developed by the Government of Canada which shows all the historical significant natural disasters in the provinces of Canada since records were kept. Most of the natural disasters in the past have occurred in British Columbia, which has had more than their share of earthquakes, landslides and snow avalances, floods, and tsunamis over the years.

Scientists have been advising that significant natural disasters will become more frequent and more severe in all parts of the world due to global warming. It doesn’t look like we can do much to change the inevitable but we can try to minimize the damage. We can do some basic things to avoid storm damage such as not building homes and roads too close to the coastline, not building in flood zones and ensuring that large trees are not close to power lines and homes.

Have a great day,