Hurricane Fiona heads into Canada after lashing Bermuda | Nation World
CAGUAS, Puerto Rico (AP) — A hurricane expected to develop into a massive post-tropical storm will bring hurricane-force winds, heavy rain and large waves to Atlantic Canada, meteorologists said Friday warning it has the potential to be one of the strongest storms in the nation’s history.
Hurricane Fiona, which had weakened somewhat to a Category 3 storm, was expected to make landfall Saturday morning.
The Canadian Hurricane Center has issued a hurricane watch for large stretches of coastline in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Fiona is expected to reach the region as a “large, powerful post-tropical cyclone with hurricane-force winds.”
“This will definitely be one of, if not the strongest, tropical cyclone to affect our part of the country,” said Ian Hubbard, a meteorologist with the Canadian Hurricane Center in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. as serious and as bad as anything I’ve seen.”
Fiona was a Category 4 hurricane when it hit Bermuda with heavy rain and winds earlier on Friday as it swept across the island on a track heading into northeast Canada. Authorities in Bermuda opened shelters and closed schools and offices ahead of Fiona. National Security Minister Michael Weeks said no major damage was reported.
The US center said Fiona had maximum sustained winds of 125 mph (205 km/h) late Friday afternoon. It was centered about 370 miles (595 kilometers) south-southeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia, heading northeast at 40 mph (65 km/h).
Hurricane-force winds extended out to 115 miles (185 kilometers) from the center and tropical storm-force winds extended out to 345 miles (555 kilometers).
Hubbard said the storm was weakening as it moved over cooler waters and he estimated it highly unlikely to make landfall with hurricane force. Hurricanes in Canada are quite rare, in part because once the storms reach colder waters, they lose their main source of energy. and become extratropical. But these cyclones can still have hurricane-force winds, but with a cold core instead of a warm core and no eye visible. Their shape can also be different. They lose their symmetrical shape and may look more like a comma.
Bob Robichaud, warning preparedness meteorologist for the Canadian Hurricane Center, said the center of the storm was expected to arrive in Nova Scotia on Saturday morning, but its winds and rains would arrive late Friday.
“This is going to get ugly,” said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “We of course hope there won’t be much to do, but we think there probably will be. And we will be there for that. In the meantime, we encourage everyone to stay safe and listen to instructions from local authorities and hang in there for the next 24 hours.
Prince Edward Island officials have sent out an emergency alert reporting severe flooding along the province’s north coast. “Immediate efforts must be made to protect property. Avoid the shores, the waves are extremely dangerous. Residents of these areas should be prepared to relocate if necessary,” the alert reads.
Nova Scotia authorities have sent an emergency alert to phones warning of Fiona’s arrival and urging people to say inside, avoid the shore, charge devices and have enough supplies to at least 72 hours. Officials warned of prolonged power outages, wind damage to trees and structures, coastal flooding and possible road washouts.
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.
So far, Fiona has been charged with at least five deaths – two in Puerto Rico, two in the Dominican Republic and one on the French island of Guadeloupe.
People across Atlantic Canada were stocking up on last-minute essentials and protecting their properties from storms on Friday before arrival.
At the Samsons Enterprises shipyard in the small Acadian community of Petit-de-Grat on Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island, Jordan David was helping his friend Kyle Boudreau moor Boudreau’s lobster boat “Bad Influence” in the hope that it would not be lifted and broken by the winds.
“All we can do is hope for the best and prepare as best we can. There is something coming, and how much is yet to be determined,” said David, dressed in his outdoor waterproof gear.
Kyle Boudreau said he was worried. “It’s our livelihood. Our boats are breaking, our traps are breaking…these are things you don’t need to start your season next year,” he said.
Aidan Sampson said he worked 11-hour days in his father-in-law’s shipyard last week, lifting fishing boats out of the water.
Meanwhile, the National Hurricane Center said a newly formed tropical depression in the southern Caribbean is expected to start strengthening and hit Cuba early Tuesday as a hurricane, then hit southern Florida early Wednesday.
It was centered about 430 miles (690 kilometers) east-southeast of Kingston, Jamaica. It had maximum sustained winds of 35 mph (55 km/h) and was moving at 15 mph (24 km/h). A hurricane watch has been issued for the Cayman Islands.
Before reaching Bermuda, Fiona caused severe flooding and devastation in Puerto Rico, leading US President Joe Biden to declare on Thursday that the full force of the federal government stands ready to help the US territory recover.
Governor Pedro Pierluisi of Puerto Rico activated the National Guard to help distribute diesel fuel to hospitals and supermarkets. The force also provides generators used to run drinking water plants and telecommunications towers. Hundreds of people remained isolated by blocked roads.
Gillies reported from Toronto. Associated Press reporter Maricarmen Rivera Sánchez in San Juan, Puerto Rico, contributed.