Nova Scotia

Hurricane Gert to produce big swells and rip currents along Atlantic coast

Two-to-three-metre waves and rip currents are expected in waters along the Nova Scotia coast Wednesday and Thursday, according to Environment Canada.

'The water is something to be avoided at least until Gert has moved well away,' says meteorologist

Residents and visitors in Nova Scotia are advised to stay out of the water Wednesday and Thursday while Hurricane Gert passes by. (Randall Hill/Reuters)

Environment Canada is advising swimmers and people in small boats to stay out of Atlantic coastal waters off Nova Scotia on Wednesday and Thursday while Hurricane Gert churns through the area.

Hurricane Gert, currently west of Bermuda and packing winds of up to 120 kilometres per hour, is forecasted to move east toward Newfoundland and south of the Grand Banks.

It won't make landfall along the Eastern Seaboard but the Atlantic coast will experience swells as Gert moves toward the North Atlantic.

High waves and rip currents

Those swells will produce two-to-three-metre waves and rip currents, beginning Wednesday in the southwest region of Nova Scotia and spreading east to Cape Breton in the afternoon, Environment Canada said in a special weather statement Tuesday.

Those conditions will gradually diminish Thursday into Friday, from west to east, Environment Canada meteorologist Linda Libby said.

"Any time we get rip currents forming, it is certainly hazardous to people who are in the water and even possibly for those who are boating, especially those who are not familiar with the local water," she said.

'Not the best time to be entering the water'

They are in danger of "being pulled offshore very quickly and certainly if you are in the water, possibly to very negative results. Particularly if you are not a strong swimmer and don't know what to do when caught in a rip current," Libby said.

"It is probably not the best time to be entering the water."

That message is going out to people along the Atlantic coastline of the United States as well, she added.

"It is a very significant hazard even though the tropical system, in this case Hurricane Gert, is offshore."

Libby recommends tourists and locals explore other options for recreation while the weather system is passing by. It should be clear by Friday, she said.

More tropical disturbances expected

Residents and visitors to the Atlantic provinces should also prepare for more of this type of weather in the coming weeks.

"Unfortunately, it has moved into the more active part of the hurricane season for our part of the Atlantic. We start to see more tropical disturbances that potentially become tropical storms or hurricanes," Libby said.

"We really want locals and visitors to be more aware at this time of the hurricane season, kind of check in with the weather a little more frequently. We just want to keep everybody safe and sound and enjoying the last several weeks of summer."