Fiona brings heavy rain and wind to Canada after hitting Bermuda
Hurricane Fiona turned into a post-tropical cyclone late Friday, but weather forecasters warned it could still bring hurricane-force winds, heavy rain and big waves to the Atlantic Canada region and has the potential to become one of the deadliest storms in Canadian history to become country .
Fiona, which began the day as a Category 4 storm but weakened to Category 2 strength late Friday, was already producing “high winds and very heavy rain” over Nova Scotia late Friday night, the Canadian Hurricane Center wrote in an advisory . It was predicted to land in Nova Scotia in the early hours of Saturday morning.
The agency had issued hurricane and tropical storm warnings over extensive coastal areas of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland.
Late Friday night, utility company Nova Scotia Power reported on its website that more than 185,000 customers were without power as a result of the storm.
The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in a report that Fiona would move to the Gulf of St. Lawrence via Nova Scotia on Saturday. It will reach the Labrador Sea late Sunday.
“Although a gradual weakening is forecast for the next few days, Fiona is expected to maintain hurricane force winds through Saturday morning,” the NHC wrote, adding that some areas in Atlantic Canada could experience a “dangerous storm surge” that is expected cause coastal flooding.
As of 11:00 p.m. EDT Friday, the NHC said Fiona was experiencing maximum sustained winds of 105 mph. It was centered about 140 miles east of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and traveling north at 46 miles per hour.
Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and western Newfoundland could receive 3 to 6 inches of rain from Fiona, the NHC reported. Labrador and eastern Quebec could get 2 to 5 inches.
“This will definitely be one of, if not the strongest, tropical cyclone to hit our part of the country,” said Ian Hubbard, meteorologist at the Canadian Hurricane Center in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. “It’s definitely going to be as bad and as bad as any I’ve seen.”
Hubbard said the storm weakened as it passed over cooler water and thought it highly unlikely that it would reach the country at hurricane strength. Hurricanes in Canada are somewhat rare, in part because once the storms reach colder waters, they lose their primary source of energy. and become extratropical. But these hurricanes can still have hurricane-force winds, albeit with a cold rather than warm core and no visible eye. Their shape can also be different. They lose their symmetrical shape and can more closely resemble a comma.
“It’s going to be bad,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday. “We hope, of course, that not much will be needed, but we believe that it probably will. And that’s what we’ll be here for. In the meantime, we encourage everyone to stay safe and listen to the advice of local authorities and hold out there for the next 24 hours.”
Nova Scotia authorities sent an emergency alert to phones, warning of Fiona’s arrival and urging people to say inside to avoid shorelines, charge devices and have enough supplies to last at least 72 hours. Officials warned of prolonged power outages, wind damage to trees and structures, and coastal flooding and possible road wash-off.
A hurricane warning was in effect for Nova Scotia from Hubbards to Brule; Prince Edward Island; Isle de la Madeleine; and Newfoundland from Parson’s Pond to Francois.
People across Atlantic Canada stocked up on last-minute necessities and storm-proofed their homes before arriving Friday.
At the Samsons Enterprises shipyard in the small Acadian community of Petit-de-Grat on the island of Cape Breton in Nova Scotia, Jordan David was helping his friend Kyle Boudreau tie down his lobster boat, Bad Influence, hoping it wouldn’t be lifted and wrecked would go through winds.
“We can only hope for the best and prepare as best we can. Something is coming and how bad is yet to be determined,” said David, wearing his waterproof outdoor gear.
Kyle Boudreau said he was concerned.
“This is our livelihood. Our boats are being smashed, our traps are being smashed… they’re things you don’t need to start your season next year,” he said.
Cape Breton Regional Municipality Mayor Amanda McDougall said officials are preparing a shelter for people to enter before the storm hits.
“We’ve seen these types of events before, but my fear is not on this scale,” she said. “The impact will be large, real and immediate.”
Dave Pickles, Nova Scotia Power’s chief operating officer, said widespread power outages are expected.
Fiona has been blamed for at least five deaths so far – two in Puerto Rico, two in the Dominican Republic and one on the French island of Guadeloupe.
Fiona was a Category 4 hurricane as it pounded Bermuda with heavy rains and wind early Friday. The authorities there opened emergency shelters and closed schools and offices. Michael Weeks, the national security secretary, said there had been no reports of major damage.
Before reaching Bermuda, Fiona caused severe flooding and devastation in Puerto Rico led by US President Joe Biden to say Thursday that the full force of the federal government is ready to help the US territory recover.
At a briefing with officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency in New York, Mr. Biden said, “We’re all in this together.”
Mr. Biden noted that hundreds of FEMA and other federal officials are already on the scene in Puerto Rico where Fiona caused an island-wide power outage.
More than 60% of electricity customers were left without power and a third of customers without water on Thursday, while local officials said they could not say when service would be fully restored.
Hundreds of people came in as of Friday Puerto Rico remained isolated by blocked roads five days after the hurricane hit the island. Frustration mounted for people like Nancy Galarza, who tried to signal for help to workers she spotted in the distance.
“Everybody go over there,” she said, pointing to the crews at the foot of the mountain helping others who were also cut off by the storm. “Nobody comes here to see us. I worry about all the elderly in this community.”
At least five landslides covered the narrow road to their community in the steep mountains surrounding the northern city of Caguas. The only way to reach the settlement was to climb over thick mounds of mud, rocks and rubble left by Fiona, whose floodwaters shook the foundations of nearby houses with earthquake-like force.
At least eight of Caguas’ 11 communities are in complete isolation, said Luis González, municipal recovery and reconstruction inspector.
It was one of at least six communities where crews had yet to reach some areas. People there often rely on help from neighbors, as was the case after Hurricane Maria, a Category 4 storm in 2017 that claimed nearly 3,000 lives.
Danciel Rivera came to rural Caguas with a church group and tried to spread some joy by dressing up as a clown.
“That’s very important in these moments,” he said, noting that people never fully recovered from Hurricane Maria.
His giant clown shoes slapped through the mud as he greeted people, whose faces lit up when they smiled at him.
Meanwhile, the NHC reported on it late Friday night Tropical Storm Ian in the Caribbean could hit Florida by Monday, possibly as a hurricane, and cause flash flooding. In response, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency. The storm was expected to bring heavy rains to Jamaica, Cuba and the Cayman Islands before reaching south Florida.