Hurricane Fiona destroyed homes and roads on Canada’s east coast

Hurricane Fiona destroyed homes and roads on Canada's east coast
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HALIFAX, Nova Scotia, Sept 24 (Reuters) – Powerful Hurricane Fiona lashed eastern Canada with hurricane-force winds on Saturday, forcing evacuations, uprooting trees and power lines and reducing many homes to “just a pile of rubble.”

The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said that the center of the storm, which was downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone “Fiona”, is currently in the Bay of St. Petersburg. After competing against Lawrence Nova Scotia.

After hitting Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, the storm hit Newfoundland, but will now weaken, the NHC said.

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The southwestern Newfoundland town of Port aux Basques, population 4,067, has declared a state of emergency and is evacuating parts of town affected by flooding and washed-out roads, according to police, Mayor Brian Button and resident Rene Roy.

Several houses and an apartment building were swept out to sea, Rene Roy, editor-in-chief of Wreckhouse Weekly in Port aux Basques, told the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.

“It’s the scariest thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” Roy said. Many houses “are now just piles of rubble in the ocean…There’s one apartment building that’s literally gone. All the streets are gone.”

CBC reports that police are investigating whether the woman was swept out to sea.

“It’s really hitting us hard right now,” Button said in a video posted to Facebook Saturday morning, urging residents to stay indoors or evacuate if asked. “We have enough devastation in the city… We don’t need anyone else getting hurt or injured in the meantime.”

Fiona, which ravaged Puerto Rico and other parts of the Caribbean about a week ago, killed at least eight people and knocked out power to nearly all of Puerto Rico’s 3.3 million people during a sweltering heat wave. Fiona made landfall between Canso and Guysborough in Nova Scotia, where the Canadian Hurricane Center recorded what was the lowest barometric pressure of any storm to make landfall in the country’s history.

Canadian Hurricane Center meteorologist Ian Hubbard told Reuters that Fiona met expectations of a “historic” storm.

“It looked like it had the potential to break the all-time record in Canada, and it looks like it,” he said. “We’re not out of it yet.”

Storms are not uncommon in the region and usually pass quickly, but Fiona is expected to affect a very large area.

Hubbard said Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island still have hours of strong winds, rain and storm surge, and Newfoundland’s west coast will be battered later in the day.

Although scientists have yet to determine whether climate change has affected Fiona’s strength or behavior, it has strong evidence that these devastating storms are only getting worse.


About 79% of customers, or 414,000, lost power in Nova Scotia, and 95%, or 82,000, lost power in Prince Edward Island, utility companies said. Police in the area reported that many roads were closed. There was also a problem with mobile phone service in the region.

Cellular and Wi-Fi provider Rogers Communications Inc said it was aware of the outages caused by Fiona and said crews would try to restore service “as soon as possible”.

Prince Edward Island produces more than a fifth of Canada’s potatoes, and the island’s in-season potato farms are likely to be affected by the storm, Hubbard said.

“It was a wild ride last night, it sounded like the whole roof was going to blow off,” said Gary Hatcher, a retiree who lives in Sydney, Nova Scotia, near where the storm made landfall. Although the birch tree in the backyard fell, the house was not damaged.

Wind gusts of 141 km/h (88 mph) were recorded in Sydney, Hubbard said. At the Shearwater Yacht Club in Halifax, 11 boats sank and four went aground, said Elaine Keene, a boater at the club but escaped injury.

Halifax Mayor Mike Savage told the CBC there were no injuries at this time. Quebec Premier Francois Legault said there were no reports of casualties or injuries.

The storm weakened slightly as it moved north. As of 11:00 a.m. (1500 GMT), he arrived in St. Lawrence is about 100 miles (160 km) west-northwest of Port aux Basques, with maximum sustained winds of 80 miles per hour (130 km/h) and northerly winds of about 25 miles (41 km/h), the NHC said.

Fiona is expected to sustain hurricane-force winds through Saturday afternoon, the NHC said.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has postponed a Saturday trip to Japan where he will attend the funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to receive briefings and support the government’s emergency response, press secretary Cecely Roy said on Twitter.

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Reporting by Eric Martyn in Halifax and John Morris in Stephenville; Additional reporting by Ivelisse Rivera in San Juan, Puerto Rico and Ismail Shakil and Steve Scherer in Ottawa; Written by Steve Scherer; Edited by Frances Currie, Bill Berkrot, and Diane Kraft

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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