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Updated: Fri, 04 Jul 2014 12:58:53 GMT | By CBC News, cbc.ca

Hurricane Arthur: Wind, rain set to batter Atlantic Canada



The Canadian Hurricane Centre predicts Arthur will make landfall in Nova Scotia on Saturday as a tropical storm. Arthur was classified this season's first hurricane on Thursday morning. Canadian Hurricane Centre

The Canadian Hurricane Centre predicts Arthur will make landfall in Nova Scotia on Saturday as a tropical storm. Arthur was classified this season's first hurricane on Thursday morning. Canadian Hurricane Centre

Many Maritimers can expect power outages or flooding as the Atlantic season's first named storm approaches Atlantic Canada, bringing heavy rain and high winds.

The Canadian Hurricane Centre gave an update on Hurricane Arthur's track at 1 p.m. AT.

Arthur was downgraded to a Category 1 hurricane Friday morning. The hurricane swiped the U.S. coast early Friday with winds of up to 136 km/h.

The storm is travelling north at 40 km/h, and could make landfall in southwestern Nova Scotia as a post-tropical storm at about 9 a.m. Saturday, Canadian hurricane experts said.

But where the heaviest rains and highest winds come will depend on the storm track.

A storm warning is in effect for all of Nova Scotia and P.E.I., as well as most of New Brunswick and the Port aux Basques region of Newfoundland.

With high winds, there is a risk that objects can be blown around, causing damage or injury. 

"Damage to buildings, such as to roof shingles and windows, may occur. Gusty winds can damage soft shelters, tents and awnings at outdoor events. High winds may toss loose objects or cause tree branches to break," said Environment Canada in its latest weather statement.

Fishermen and boat owners across the Maritimes are preparing for the storm, battening down the hatches and tying extra lines to wharves to keep their vessels from coming loose in the storm.

Canadian Coast Guard Cmdr. Greg Peters says with waves expected to reach heights of about eight metres, people should stay a safe distance from the shore.

“We are, sometimes, a little bit concerned about people on the shoreline with the storm surge coming and that’s always a danger in certain areas like Lawrencetown Beach and Peggys Cove. But, for the most part, we’re hoping that people have taken heed to the warnings and it’ll be a non-event," he said.

Cancellations roll in

Hurricane Arthur has the potential to disrupt travel for thousands this weekend.

- Air Canada has waived the fees associated with changing reservations for anyone whose destination is affected by the storm.

- WestJet's policy is to waive the fees as well, if a tropical storm or hurricane advisory is issued for the destination.

- Marine Atlantic hasn't altered its schedule yet. But if customers wish to make adjustments to their travel plans, change fees will be waived, the company said in an email to CBC News.

Several weekend events in Nova Scotia have already been cancelled or postponed in anticipation of Arthur's landfall.

Mud Hero, an obstacle racing event at Ski Martock approximately 60 kilometres northwest of Halifax, has cancelled its Saturday event and is requesting all its competitors to arrive on Sunday.

"In addition to always providing you with the best and muddiest day ever, your safety is of utmost importance to us," organizers wrote on its website.

Earlier this week, the Stan Rogers Folk Festival in Canso, N.S., cancelled its annual event because of Arthur's approach. Organizers said it was "impossible" to guarantee public safety in those circumstances and apologized for the "horrible decision" they had to make.

Some of the international musicians set to perform at Stanfest will instead perform at two impromptu concerts in P.E.I., with all the proceeds going toward the artists' expenses. Islanders have offered up their homes to use as accommodation.

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