VIDEO: Hurricane Dorian expected to hit Nova Scotia on Saturday evening

Storm expected to make landfall as Category 1 hurricane, then move into Gulf of St. Lawrence

Hurricane Dorian is expected to make landfall in Nova Scotia on Saturday evening, unleashing a barrage of torrential rain, pounding surf and howling gusts reaching up to 140 kilometres per hour along the Atlantic coast.

The Canadian Hurricane Centre says hurricane warnings remain in effect for much of mainland Nova Scotia and Cape Breton. Tropical storm warnings have been issued for P.E.I., southeastern New Brunswick and western Newfoundland.

“The storm is approaching … (and) it’s still a strong storm,” said Bob Robichaud, the centre’s warning preparedness meteorologist.

Even though Dorian was about 500 kilometres southwest of Halifax by Saturday morning, heavy rain and winds exceeding 90 kilometres per hour were reported in parts of southwestern Nova Scotia and southern New Brunswick.

Dorian is expected to make landfall as a Category 1 hurricane, before moving into the Gulf of St. Lawrence, where it is expected to transform into a strong post-tropical storm.

Category 1 hurricanes churn out sustained winds between 119 km/h and 153 km/h. Robichaud said Dorian’s sustained winds were expected to range between 90 km/h and 120 km/h.

RELATED: Bahamian students in B.C. can only watch and wait Hurricane Dorian aftermath

“That means numerous broken trees, uprooted trees, heavy rain and potential for flash flooding,” he said.

Emergency officials in the Halifax region have called for a voluntary evacuation of homes and businesses along the municipality’s Atlantic shoreline.

Environment Canada has also issued storm surge warnings for the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, where there’s the potential for localized flooding during high tide later tonight.

In Fredericton, New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs announced the cancellation of the Conference of New England Governors and Eastern Canadian Premiers that had been scheduled to begin Sunday in the port city of Saint John.

Michael MacDonald, The Canadian Press

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