Deadly Hurricane Fiona has weakened slightly to a Category 3 storm, but still causes strong winds of 200 km/h en route to Canada’s Atlantic coast.
Evolving conditions for the hurricane category were already expected for Friday night (23), according to the National Hurricane Center, the US National Hurricane Center.
That is, it was about to become an “extreme weather event” in eastern Canada, threatening strong winds, dangerous storm surges and rain with a cumulative amount of about two months’ worth of precipitation, according to Canadian Hurricane Center forecasts.
Some parts of the country, such as the maritime provinces, began to feel effects on Friday night, according to the center.
“It could be a landmark event for Canada because of the intensity of a tropical cyclone,” which could even become the Canadian version of Hurricane Sandy, said Chris Fogarty, manager of the Canadian Hurricane Center.
Hurricane Sandy affected 24 states and the entire east coast of the United States in 2012, causing an estimated $78.7 billion in damage.
Officials in the Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island regions of Canada urged those in the storm’s path to stay alert and prepare for the hurricane’s impacts.
Fiona has already claimed the lives of at least five people and left millions without power this week as it hit several islands in the Caribbean.
Fiona evolved into a Category 4 storm early Wednesday over the Atlantic after passing through Turks and Caicos, and remained so until Friday afternoon.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said in its Friday nightly bulletin that the storm had weakened somewhat but was still causing hurricane-force winds. The area covered by its passage extends over 160 km from its center and tropical winds can be felt for over 300 km from the same point.
The eye of the hurricane was 350 km southeast of Halifax on Friday night.
“While a gradual weakening is expected over the next few days, Fiona is expected to be a powerful hurricane-force cyclone when it crosses the Canadian Atlantic,” the center said.
Hurricane warning in parts of Nova Scotia
In Canada, hurricane warnings were implemented for Nova Scotia from Hubbards to Bhule, and in Newfoundland from Person’s Pond to Francois. Prince Edward Islands and Isle-de-la-Madeleine are also on alert.
“There’s the potential for it to be very dangerous,” said John Lohr, the minister in charge of the Office of Emergency Management for Nova Scotia. “The impacts are projected to be felt across the province. Every Nova Scotia resident should be getting ready today,” Lohr added during an update later Thursday.
Residents should prepare for damaging winds, very high waves, coastal storm surges and heavy rain, which can lead to prolonged power outages, Lohr said. Emergency officials encouraged people to secure outdoor items, trim trees, leave cell phones and mobile devices charged, and assemble a 72-hour emergency kit.
The area hasn’t seen an intense storm like this in about 50 years, according to Chris Fogarty of the Canadian Hurricane Center.
“Let’s take it seriously because we see numbers on our weather maps that are rarely seen here,” Fogarty said.
Electric utility Nova Scotia Power activated an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) on Friday morning, which will serve as a central coordination area for restoration and outage response, according to a press release. .
The company will also work closely with the Nova Scotia Office of Emergency Management.
“We are taking all precautions and will be ready to respond to Hurricane Fiona as safely and efficiently as possible,” said Sean Borden, the concessionaire’s storm coordinator.
‘It will be ugly’
Andy Francis, a fisherman in southwest Newfoundland, was waiting for the storm this week with one boat already out of the water and tying the other to a nearby dock.
“This time around, it looks like everyone has the same consensus that this is going to be ugly,” the fisherman told CBC News. According to him, all the residents of the area were also prepared to help “minimize the damage”.
“This is going to be different,” he added.
All along Canada’s Atlantic coast, winds could be around 100 mph, as Fiona is expected to weaken just before touching down in Nova Scotia, according to meteorologists from CNN Rob Shackelford and Taylor Ward.
Prince Edward Island officials have implored residents to prepare for the worst as the storm approaches.
Tanya Mullally, who serves as the head of the province’s emergency administration, said one of Fiona’s most pressing concerns is the historic wave of storms he is expected to unleash.
“The storm is definitely going to be significant, with flooding that we haven’t seen and can’t measure,” Mullally said Thursday during a bulletin.
Modeling from the Canadian Hurricane Center suggests that the storms, “depending on the area, could reach rainfall of 1.8 to 2.4 meters,” explained Bob Robichaud, a meteorologist at the center.
The northern part of the island is likely to be the hardest hit due to the direction of the winds, which will likely cause property damage and coastal flooding.
All campsites, beaches and parks open to the public in the province, as well as Shubenacadie Wildlife Park, closed on Friday.
still no energy
Earlier this week, Fiona damaged homes and destroyed critical energy and water infrastructure that serves millions of people in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
As of Friday, five days after Puerto Rico experienced an island-wide blackout as soon as Fiona touched down on Sunday, only 41% of customers had reported power returning, according to the grid operator’s figures. LUMA Energy electricity published on the island’s emergency portal system.
The general power outage comes as Puerto Rico weathers extreme heat, with temperatures reaching 440C on Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. Temperatures remained in the mid-30s on Friday, according to CNN meteorologist Taylor Ward.
Daniel Hernández, director of renewable projects at LUMA, explained that critical sites, including hospitals, will be prioritized before repairs can begin at an individual level.
“It’s a normal process. The important thing is that everyone is calm. We are working to ensure that 100% of customers have the service as soon as possible,” said Hernández.
More than a quarter of customers on the island had no water service or had it intermittently, according to the emergency portal system.
In the Dominican Republic, Fiona affected thousands of families, destroying 2,262 homes, according to the country’s head of emergency operations, Major General Juan Méndez García.
He said more than 210,000 homes and businesses were still dark as of Thursday morning, and another 725,246 customers had no running water.
“It was something incredible, which we’ve never seen before,” said Ramona Santana, in Higüey, Dominican Republic, at CNN. “We are on the street, with nothing, no food, no shoes, no clothes, just what we have on our bodies. We have nothing. We have God and hope that we will have help.”
Fiona also threatened parts of the Turks and Caicos Islands on Tuesday (20). Areas of the British territory were still without power earlier this week, including Grand Turk, South Caicos, Salt Cay, North Caicos and Middle Caicos, said Anya Williams, the islands’ governor.
— Allison Chinchar, Melissa Alonso, Ana Melgar Zuniga and Amanda Musa of CNN contributed to this story.
Source: CNN Brasil