Hurricane Fiona: Magdalen Islands Authorities on High Alert

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Hurricane Fiona: the authorities of the Magdalen Islands on high alert

A hurricane warning is in effect in the Magdalen Islands with the passage of Fiona in the east of the country. The archipelago could be hard hit on Saturday. (archives)

A hurricane watch, issued by Environment Canada, hangs over the Magdalen Islands archipelago, where the passage of storm Fiona is forecast for Saturday.

In Eastern Quebec, tropical storm watches are also in effect for Anticosti, Minganie and the lower North Shore, as well as certain sectors of Gaspésie, from Restigouche to Sainte-Anne-des-Monts, via Gaspé.

The position of the hurricane at 3 p.m. Atlantic Daylight Time on September 22, 2022.

The various organizations concerned are organizing themselves, particularly on the Madelinot archipelago side. Civil Security is on high alert and was in communication, as of Thursday, with the municipalities of Grosse-Île and Îles-de-la-Madeleine.

Municipal teams are mobilized and alerts to the population have already been sent by the maritime community of the Islands to remind them of the instructions for use, explains the interim regional director for Civil Security, Félix Caron.

“We do everything we can upstream of disasters so that municipalities and communities are as prepared as possible to deal with the situation . »

— Félix Caron, Acting Regional Director for Civil Security Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine

Civil Security invites citizens to have in their possession an emergency kit that allows autonomy for 72 hours, including water, food and prescription drugs, to deal with weather conditions.

Mr. Caron reminds us that citizens are primarily responsible for their safety.

Of course, municipalities, regardless of their size, are always the first responsible for civil security on their territory with the help of the Ministry of Public Security, but individual responsibility is in order, continues Félix Caron.

The Municipality of Îles-de-la-Madeleine brought together several players on Thursday morning to implement its civil security plan in anticipation of the arrival of the hurricane on Friday evening.

We are continuing the preparations and we are revising our plan to be ready by the end of the week, affirms the acting mayor of the Magdalen Islands, Richard Leblanc. We will monitor the path of the hurricane to see if, by any chance, it decides to avoid us. We would be happy to do so, but as of today, that does not appear to be the case.

According to Mr. Leblanc, an update from the Coordination of Measures Committee emergency was carried out on Thursday morning. In addition, all the directors of the maritime community of the Islands also met Thursday morning.

This was to ensure that everyone took action of their responsibility in the face of this event, continues the acting mayor.

“It's the unknown and we don't know what to expect with a storm like this, but we are ready. »

— Richard Leblanc, Deputy Mayor of the Magdalen Islands

Municipal teams also did field work on Thursday to pick up objects that could be carried by the wind. The municipality's fire department and public works department are also mobilized to carry out surveillance of the territory.

Citizens are asked to store objects around houses to prevent this from happening. walks around and they become too dangerous objects, like patio furniture, adds Mr. Leblanc.

Three places for the establishment of emergency accommodation have also already been targeted by the municipality.

It's always the same year after year and each time something like this happens, our sites are ready with camp beds and the necessary personnel are advised to go to these places if necessary, specifies Richard Leblanc.

Certain activities have been disrupted on the archipelago, such as those of the Festival international Contes en Îles, which had to review certain elements of its programming due to weather conditions.

Madelinots businesses have already announced their closure for the weekend.

“People are advised to stay home and let time pass. »

— Richard Leblanc, acting mayor of the Îles-de-la-Madeleine

If the Îles-de-la-Madeleine could be more affected, the Gaspésie could also, to a lesser extent, suffer the repercussions of the storm.

Civil Security confirms that it has alerted all municipalities and is in contact with the various administrations in anticipation of possible repercussions.

Coastal municipalities are at risk in such conditions because the tropical storm could cause winds, significant precipitation which could cause flooding, specifies the acting regional director of Civil Security, Félix Caron.

“The winds could also generate waves, especially in a context of high tide, which could cause submersion erosion on the coasts. »

— Félix Caron, Acting Regional Director for Civil Security Gaspésie–Îles-de-la-Madeleine

Civil Security claims to be able to refine their message preparedness to municipalities in the coming days, as Environment Canada's forecast becomes clearer.

In anticipation of potential damage to the electrical network, Hydro-Québec is in  preparation mode  and is deploying additional staff to the Islands.

We have behind us the experience of Dorian where there were a lot of breaks on the network in the Magdalen Islands and, therefore, in this case we sent about twenty employees, five bucket trucks and teams of additional fitters to really be ready to intervene depending on the extent of the damage, says Hydro-Québec spokesperson Ariane Doucet-Michaud.

On the side of the Gaspé Peninsula, Hydro-Québec considers that the staff in place are sufficient for the moment.

It must be understood that the Gaspé, as long as the storm has passed, it is much easier for us to mobilize teams from outside Quebec by land rather than sending them by boat or plane where the conditions are uncertain with the storm, says Ms. Doucet-Michaud.

Several Hydro-Québec trucks were at the Souris wharf, on Île-du -Prince-Édouard, Thursday, to take the ferry to the Îles-de-la-Madeleine.

For its part, the Sûreté du Québec is also dispatching additional personnel.

Police officers, especially from Gaspésie, took the road to the archipelago on Thursday to lend a hand, if necessary, to their Madelinot colleagues over the next few days.

The police authorities will thus be able to support Civil Security if the situation on the ground requires it and an emergency plan must be deployed. A command post will also be erected on Friday at the SQ post in the Islands.

Many CTMA crossings, which connect Souris to Île-du- Prince-Édouard and Cap-aux-Meules in the Îles-de-la-Madeleine, are moved up or postponed. Some regional flights have also been cancelled.

On the Gaspé side, Parks Canada is forced to close Forillon National Park from Friday until further notice.

< p class="e-p">With information from Roxanne Langlois and Kim Bergeron

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