Hurricane warning issued ahead of Dorian

(CTV Atlantic's Kalin Mitchell/Facebook)

Hurricane Dorian is on a northeast track off the US east coast as residents of Atlantic Canada brace for the massive storm's arrival.

According to CTV Atlantic meteorologist Kalin Mitchell, as of 6 p.m. Friday, the latest forecast update from the National Hurricane Center now has Dorian approaching and making landfall in N.S. as a Category 2 hurricane. 

Parts of Nova Scotia, including Colchester, Cumberland, Hants and Pictou counties are under a hurricane warning, as well as a rainfall warning.

Environment Canada says rain, heavy at times, will begin Saturday morning, with 50 to 80 mm of rain expected in central and northern N.S. through Saturday evening. More rain is in the forecast for Sunday.

As for the wind, the weather agency says gusts of between 70 km/h and 90 km/h are expected Saturday afternoon, with gusts of 90 km/h to 120 km/h possible Saturday evening.

Mitchell says the increase in the intensity forecast came as a surprise, but added in a post on Facebook that while significant progress has been made in track forecasts for these type of storms, intensity forecasts remain more elusive.

According to the CTV Atlantic meteorologist, the reason being given for the increase in intensity is good upper level divergence (Mitchell says to think about that as using bellows on a fire) and energy imparted by trough of low pressure building in from the west (more fuel).

The province's Emergency Measures Organization is recommending you secure/remove loose outdoor objects, move important items as high up in your home as possible, turn your fridge and freezer to their coldest settings about six hours before the storm hits, make sure you have a stocked emergency kit (water, medications, non-perishable food, flashlights, battery operated radio). People are also advised to fully charge their electronics ahead of the storm, in case of power outages. 

The Halifax Regional Municipality is asking its residents in the Sambro area, Peggys Cove and along the Eastern Shore to consider a voluntary evacuation until Hurricane Dorian moves out of the region. HRM says the Red Cross will be opening three evacuation shelters at noon on Saturday: Dartmouth East Community Centre, Canada Games Centre, and St. Margarets Centre.