Monday, February 13, 2017

Blizzard and Storm Surge

Halifax Harbour is hunkered down for a rip snorter of a blizzard that is now estimated to bring 25 to 70cm of snow, blown by sustained winds of 60 kph and gusts in excess of 100 kph (peaking at noon today), coupled with a storm surge on top of a high tide of 1.9m at 0934 hrs AST this morning.

The large ships in port appear to be holding their own. Two tankers anchored in Bedford Basin have not shown any signs of dragging anchor according to AIS.

Meanwhile at Fairview Cove the tug Atlantic Fir is alongside Atlantic Sail and Atlantic Oak is alongside Yantian Express, both tugs helping to keep the ships alongside. The third tug Atlantic Willow is stationed nearby at pier 9C in case of need.

Algoma Dartmouth is still at pier 36. Although it often moves to an alternate berth in a storm, this time it is staying put. Nearby at pier 25-26 the wintering Atlantic Huron has its AIS turned off, and likely only has a skeleton crew on board. However it has had heavy moorings out since it arrived for layup.

The cable ship Isaac Newton and supplier Atlantic Griffon and Atlantic Shrike are at piers 9B and A and likely in the most sheltered berths in the harbour for north easterly winds.

The supplier Atlantic Condor is perched on the Exxon Mobil dock in Dartmouth, to some extent in the lee of the Dartmouth shore.

Halifax Transit cancelled bus and ferry service today, so all the ferries remain at their docks. HMC Dockyard is "closed" (i.e. employees are not required to report to work), but there will no doubt be crews tending lines on the many ships alongside. Most worrisome would be Preserver, which is very high out of the water, but which will certainly have many extra lines out.

Winds will have diminished somewhat for the next high tide at 2204 hrs, but the water levels are again expected to exceed the normal due to the storm surge. Many low level docks were flooded this morning.

Numerous other vessels tied up in port will have paid extra attention to lines before the storm and will be monitoring them carefully until sometime tomorrow.

The few ship that were due today will have to wait outside until conditions improve. Even then it will take some time for crews to clear snow from the piers to allow unloading and loading.


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