**** HRM Media Release
Storm impacts and preparedness tips
The Halifax Regional Municipality continues to monitor the weather forecast, with a complex weather system expected to move into the Halifax region later today and into tomorrow.
Current forecasts indicate rain beginning along the coast on Friday afternoon, changing to ice pellets of freezing rain late this evening and then to snow. This system will see high winds that may cause power outages.
Impact of COVID-19 on municipal service standards
Due to resourcing challenges as a result of the impacts of COVID-19, including employee exposures and provincially mandated self-isolation and testing requirements, service standards are expected to be impacted. This includes Halifax Transit, solid waste collection, some recreation centres and other municipal operations. For the most up-to-date information on municipal impacts as a result of COVID-19, visit halifax.ca.
Halifax Transit bus, Access-A-Bus and ferry service will be suspended as of 9 p.m. today, Friday, January 14, with a tentative resumption date of no earlier than 9 a.m. tomorrow morning, Saturday, January 15. Any buses in service prior to 9 p.m. today will complete their routes.
Crews remain on standby monitoring the forecast in anticipation of the pending storm.
Overnight winter parking ban
The overnight winter parking ban will be enforced from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. on January, 15, in both Zone 1 – Central and Zone 2 – Non-Central.
Given current public health directives, residents are reminded that even if isolating, they are responsible to make arrangements to move their vehicle off municipal streets in advance of the storm.
Residents are reminded that the overnight winter parking ban is in effect annually from December 15 though March 31. When activated during declared weather events and snow removal operations, the ban is enforced from 1 a.m. to 6 a.m. This winter season, the municipality is implementing two zones for the overnight parking ban: Zone 1 – Central and Zone 2 – Non-Central:
- Zone 1 – Central refers to the Halifax Peninsula and downtown Dartmouth within Highway 111 (the Circumferential Highway) and some surrounding areas
- Zone 2 – Non-Central is a designated area outside of Zone 1 – Central
The change to two zones will improve service delivery by leveraging overnight winter parking bans that can accommodate more targeted snow removal. Residents are able to determine what zone they’re in by searching their address using the interactive tool available here.
Overnight winter parking bans are communicated via public service announcements, hfxALERT, halifax.ca and @hfxgov on Twitter. Residents who are signed up for hfxALERT will continue to receive notifications for all overnight winter parking ban scenarios.
Note: Regardless of the status of an overnight winter parking ban, or whether you have received a notification, vehicles can be towed, day or night, at any time of year, if they are interfering with snow-clearing operations, as per Section 139 of the Nova Scotia Motor Vehicle Act.
Support for those experiencing homelessness
The municipality is supporting the Province of Nova Scotia to provide temporary emergency shelter to occupants of homeless encampments in the region.
An emergency shelter will be open overnight on Friday and Saturday night. Those at the shelter will be provided with comfort kits and food. St. Matthew’s Church will operate a warming centre during the day from Friday until Monday.
Ground Search & Rescue remains on standby to visit locations where the municipality is aware of occupants of homeless encampments and offer transportation to these facilities.
The largest threat to homes and property is flying debris. Residents are asked to move all items inside that high winds could pick up, such as umbrellas, patio furniture, garbage, flower pots, toys, etc.
Residents who can safely do so are encouraged to clear nearby storm drains of debris, helping to reduce the likelihood of water pooling in the area. Additionally, trimming dead branches and cutting down dead trees can help to reduce the impact caused by high winds.
With the potential for power outages, residents are encouraged to visit halifax.ca for a full list of preparedness and emergency kit tips. Residents with wells are encouraged to fill water jugs and bathtubs, as a loss of power will prevent access to well water that relies on electric pumps.
Emergency food and water should be on hand for all family members, including pets. All personal vehicles should be filled with fuel and cell phones should be charged. Many households are now solely reliant on cell phones, so battery chargers are recommended. Flashlights should also be equipped with new batteries.
Special items, such as prescription medication, infant formula, equipment for people with disabilities, and medication for pets or service animals, should be gathered before the storm.
Cash should also be on hand in the event of a power outage, as bank machines may be non-operational.
Residents are reminded to never operate a generator, BBQ or any other fuel filled item inside a home or garage.
Residents are also urged to stay away from the coastline during any severe weather event due to dangers associated with potential storm surge(s).
Residents are urged to sign-up for hfxALERT, the municipality’s mass notification system. Subscribers will receive alerts by phone, email or text. Sign up at halifax.ca/hfxalert.
Residents can also call 311 for updated information on municipal services, or to report issues such as flooding, downed trees or blocked roadways. For emergencies, residents should call 911.