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Hurricane Dorian is expected to have an impact on the Maritimes later this week, with the National Hurricane Center in Miami indicating hurricane-force winds could strike Nova Scotia’s Atlantic coast on the weekend.

However, a meteorologist with the Canadian Hurricane Centre in Halifax says Dorian’s eventual track could take it out to sea or even as far north as southern New Brunswick.

“There is a wide range of possibilities out there,” said Linda Libby, who is based in Charlottetown.

“We could see tropical-storm-force winds, and a narrow band where they could be approaching hurricane strength.”

The lower threshold for a Category 1 hurricane is sustained winds reaching 119 kilometres an hour.

The Canadian centre’s latest hurricane tracking map shows Dorian travelling along Nova Scotia’s Atlantic coast, churning out winds that could reach more than 130 km/h

Ms. Libby said it’s important for people to realize that hurricane-tracking maps include a so-called track forecast cone, which is often misinterpreted.

The cone indicates where the centre of the storm could be headed, not the size of the storm itself. That means the variability of the actual track is larger than most people think.

Last week, the remnants of post-tropical storm Erin were initially expected to swing south of Nova Scotia, but the low-pressure system instead veered northward on Thursday and headed for the Bay of Fundy, dumping more than 160 millimetres of rain in the Parrsboro, N.S., area.

“Erin was a good wake-up call for Atlantic Canadians,” Ms. Libby said. “We’re in hurricane season. We have to be prepared. We have to be aware these storms are coming.”

Early on Tuesday, Dorian seemed to stall over the Bahamas, where its 190-km/h winds pounded the islands, wrecked thousands of homes and killed at least five people.

The United Nations and the International Red Cross are mobilizing to deal with the unfolding humanitarian crisis.

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