December 4, 2022

Fiona cut power to more than 500,000 customers in Atlantic Canada on Saturday, with strong winds and rain damaging homes as it made landfall as a large, powerful post-tropical cyclone.

Fiona turned from a hurricane into a tropical storm late Friday, but meteorologists cautioned it could still have hurricane-strength winds and bring drenching rain and heavy waves.

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More than 415,000 Nova Scotia Power customers — roughly 80% of the province’s 1 million — were affected by the outage on Saturday morning. In the province of Prince Edward Island, more than 82,000 customers were without electricity, while NB Power in New Brunswick reported that 44,329 were without electricity.

Fast-moving Fiona made landfall in Nova Scotia before dawn on Saturday, its strength was below Category 4 strength early Friday when passing through Bermuda, although officials there reported no serious damage. reported to be.

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The Canadian Hurricane Center tweeted early Saturday that Fiona has the lowest pressure ever recorded for hurricane-causing landfall in Canada. Forecasters warned that it could be one of the most powerful storms to hit the country.

A state of local emergency has been declared by the Cape Breton Regional Municipality’s mayor and council amid widespread power cuts, road closures and damage to homes.

“There are houses that have been heavily damaged due to fallen trees, large old trees falling and significant damage. We are also seeing houses with their roofs completely broken, windows cracking. There is a huge amount of debris in the roadways,” Cape Breton Regional Municipality Mayor Amanda McDougall told The Associated Press.

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“There has been a lot of damage to goods and structures but no injuries to people at this point. Again we are still in the middle of this,” she said. “It’s still scary. I’m sitting here in my living room feeling like the patio doors are about to break through those big gusts. It’s loud and it’s shocking.”

McDougall said the shelter they opened was full overnight and they would like to open more.

The federal Ministry of Public Security advised against all non-essential travel by car.
A Hurricane Watch was issued for the coastal extension of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau decided to delay his trip to Japan for the funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s assassination.

“Of course we hope it won’t be needed much, but we think it probably will,” Trudeau said. “Listen to the instructions of the local authorities and stay there for the next 24 hours.”

The US Hurricane Center said Fiona had maximum winds of 90 mph (150 kph) on Saturday. It was moving in eastern Canada.

Hurricane-force winds moved outward to 175 miles (280 kilometers) from the center, and tropical storm-force winds extended outward to 405 miles (650 kilometers).

Hurricanes are somewhat rare in Canada, because once storms reach colder waters, they lose their main source of energy. But post-tropical cyclones can still have hurricane-strength winds, although they have a cold core and are not visible. They also often lose their symmetrical appearance and resemble commas.

“Just as an incredibly strong storm it made landfall. And even as it fades away, it continues to affect the area for several hours today,” said Saturday morning Ian Hubbard, a meteorologist at the Canadian Hurricane Center in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, said.

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“Things of the historic storm certainly seem to be coming true.”
Hubbard said he lost power at his home and had to walk a long way to work because the bridges were closed. He said there are fallen trees and signs in the Halifax area but it is worse in other areas of the province.

People in the area rushed to stock up on essentials and worked to protect their properties from the storm on Friday.

In Sydney, Cape Breton’s largest city in Nova Scotia, about 20 people have taken refuge at the Center 200 sports and entertainment facility in Sydney, said Christina Lamy, the region’s spokeswoman.

“Its main message is for people to stay at home,” she said. “First responders are just really stretched. We want people to stay off the roads. Most of the roads are in danger, power lines are down and trees are also down.”

Bob Robichaud, a warning preparedness meteorologist for the Canadian Hurricane Center, said Fiona was shaping up to be a larger storm system than Hurricane Juan, which caused widespread damage to the Halifax area in 2003.

He said Fiona is similar in size to the aftermath of Tropical Storm Dorian in 2019. “But it is stronger than Dorian,” he said. “This is definitely going to be a historic, extreme event for eastern Canada.”

Prince Edward Island officials sent an emergency alert over the phone to warn of the potential for severe flooding along the province’s north coast.

Nova Scotia officials also sent out an emergency alert over the phone warning Fiona’s arrival and urging people to say inside, avoid shore, charge equipment and have enough supplies for at least 72 hours.

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Fiona has so far been blamed for at least five deaths – two in Puerto Rico, two in the Dominican Republic and one in the French island of Guadeloupe.

Meanwhile, the National Hurricane Center said newly formed Tropical Storm Ian was expected to strengthen in the Caribbean and make landfall in Cuba early Tuesday and then hit southern Florida early Wednesday.

It was centered about 315 miles (519 km) southeast of Kingston, Jamaica. It had maximum sustained winds of 45 mph (75 kph) and was moving to the west-northwest at 14 mph (22 kph). A Hurricane Watch was issued for the Cayman Islands.