Atlantic grids, forestry, coastlines need rethink in era of intense storms: experts

tree on road

In an era when storms with hurricane-force winds are expected to keep battering Atlantic Canada, experts say the region should make major changes to electrical grids, shoreline defences and even the types of trees being planted.

Work continues to reconnect customers after post-tropical storm Dorian knocked out power to 80 per cent of homes and businesses in Nova Scotia. 

Recent scientific literature says 35 hurricanes - not including post-tropical storms like Dorian - have made landfall in the region since 1850, an average of one every five years.

Anthony Taylor, a forest ecologist scientist with Natural Resources Canada, wrote in a recent peer-reviewed paper that climate change is expected to increase the frequency of severe hurricanes.

He says promoting more mixed forests with hardwoods would reduce the rate of destruction caused by the storms.

Erni Wiebe, former director of distribution at Manitoba Hydro, says the storms should cause Atlantic utilities to rethink their view that burying lines is too expensive and to contemplate other long-term solutions.