A hurricane expected to turn into a massive post-tropical storm will bring hurricane-force winds, heavy rainfall and large waves to Atlantic Canada, meteorologists said Friday, warning it has the potential to become one of the strongest storms in the history of the United States. to become a country. .
Hurricane Fiona, which had weakened slightly to a Category 3 storm, was set to make landfall early Saturday morning in eastern Nova Scotia, according to the Canadian Hurricane Center, which had issued a hurricane watch over extensive coastal areas of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland.
The eye of Fiona will approach Nova Scotia by the end of Friday and move into the Gulf St. Lawrence by Saturday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) said in an advisory Friday night. It will reach the Labrador Sea by the end of Sunday.
“Fiona is expected to be a powerful hurricane-force cyclone as it moves over Atlantic Canada,” the NHC wrote, adding that some parts of Atlantic Canada could see a “dangerous storm surge.”
As of Friday 5 p.m. EDT, the NHC said Fiona had maximum sustained winds of 125 mph. It was centered about 370 miles southeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia, heading northeast at 40 mph.
Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and western Newfoundland could get 3 to 6 inches of rain from Fiona, the NHC reported. Labrador and Eastern Quebec can grow 2 to 5 inches.
“This is definitely going to be one of, if not the most powerful, tropical cyclones to hit our part of the country,” said Ian Hubbard, a meteorologist at the Canadian Hurricane Center in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. “It will certainly be as serious and as bad as I’ve ever seen.”
Authorities in Nova Scotia have sent distress calls to phones to warn of Fiona’s arrival and to urge people to enter, avoid the shoreline, charge devices and have enough supplies for at least 72 hours. Officials warned of prolonged power outages, wind damage to trees and structures and coastal flooding and possible 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.
People on the other side of the Atlantic were stocking up on last-minute supplies and stormproofing their properties before arriving Friday.
At the Samsons Enterprises wharf in the small Acadian community of Petit-de-Grat on Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island, Jordan David helped his friend Kyle Boudreau tie up his “Bad Influence” lobster boat, hoping he wouldn’t. be lifted and broken by wind.
“All we can do is hope for the best and prepare as best we can. Something is coming, and how bad it is has 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 wrecked, our traps are being destroyed…these are things you don’t have to start your season next year,” he said.
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 those cyclones can still have hurricane strength, 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 look more like a comma.
Bob Robichaud, Warning Preparedness Meteorologist at the Canadian Hurricane Center, said at a news conference that modeling predicted an “all-time” low pressure in the region, causing storm surges and rainfall of 10 to 20 centimeters (4 to 8 inches). .
Amanda McDougall, mayor of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, said officials were preparing a shelter for people to enter before the storm arrived.
“We’ve seen events like this before, but I’m afraid, not to this extent,” she said. “The consequences will be great, real and immediate.”
Nova Scotia Power’s chief operating officer Dave Pickles said it expects widespread power outages.
Fiona is responsible 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 hurricaneand wind earlier Friday. Authorities there opened shelters and closed schools and offices. Michael Weeks, the Secretary of National Security, said there were no reports of major damage.
Before reaching Bermuda, Fiona caused severe flooding and devastation in Puerto Rico, led by US President Joe Bidenthat the full strength of the federal government is ready to help restore American territory.
During a briefing with Federal Emergency Management Agency officials 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 power customers were without power on Thursday and a third of customers were without water, while local officials said they could not say when service would be fully restored.
Hundreds of people have been in since Fridayremained isolated by blocked roads for five days after the hurricane tore across the island. Frustration increased for the likes of Nancy Galarza, who tried to call for help from work crews she saw in the distance.
“Everyone goes there,” she said, pointing to the crews at the bottom of the mountain helping others, also cut off by the storm. “No one comes here to see us. I’m concerned about all the elderly in this community.”
At least five landslides covered the narrow road to her 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 behind by Fiona, whose floodwaters shook the foundations of nearby houses with an earthquake-like force.
At least eight of the 11 communities in Caguas were completely isolated, said Luis González, municipal inspector for recovery and reconstruction.
It was one of at least six municipalities where crews had yet to reach some areas. People there often depend on help from neighbors, as they did after Hurricane Maria, a Category 4 storm in 2017 that killed nearly 3,000 people.
Danciel Rivera arrived in rural Caguas with a church group and tried to bring a little cheer by dressing as a clown.
“That’s very important at these times,” he said, pointing out that people never fully recovered from Hurricane Maria.
His huge clown shoes squeaked through the mud as he greeted people, whose faces lit up when they smiled at him.
Meanwhile, the NHCin the Caribbean could reach Florida by Monday, possibly like a hurricane, causing flash flooding. In response to the tropical depression, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency. The storm was expected to bring heavy rainfall to Jamaica, Cuba and the Cayman Islands before reaching South Florida.