How ice around P.E.I. can be a good thing — at least during a storm surge
'A few hours either way could make a significant difference,' meteorologist says
Most of P.E.I. is currently surrounded by ice — and that could come in handy later this week, a weather expert says.
With a storm surge warning for P.E.I. part of a special weather statement for Thursday and Friday, the ice may provide a buffer from waves and higher water levels.
"That can be a benefit if we have a fast-moving storm where a lot of, particularly waves, and some of the high water level can be prevented from reaching our coastline and doing erosional damage," said Linda Libby, a meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada based in Charlottetown.
If strong winds continue for an extended period in one direction, however, it can cause "rafting" or buildup of ice along the shore, which can damage the shoreline and any infrastructure along it.
Although the winds in this storm are predicted to be strong, Libby said wind directions are expected to change — first coming from the northeast, then possibly from the southwest and southeast in some parts of the Island.
Not expected to be as bad as 2010
Right now the highest storm surge is not expected to happen at high tide for P.E.I., Libby said, though that will depend on where the storm tracks.
"But it's one of those situations where a few hours either way could make a significant difference," she said.
Libby does not expect the storm to be as bad as the last similar event, a storm surge in December 2010 with prolonged northeasterly winds that caused damage along the Island's North Shore and flooding along the Northumberland Strait.
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With files from Nancy Russell