Deadly Hurricane Fiona It has weakened slightly to a Category 3 storm, but is still packing sustained winds of 125 mph as it barrels toward Canada’s Atlantic coast.
Friday night is expected to bring hurricane conditions to the region, National Hurricane Center he said.
Forecasters with the Canadian Hurricane Center warned Friday afternoon of an “extreme weather event” threatening eastern Canada with strong winds, dangerous storm surge and nearly two months of precipitation. Some parts, such as Maritime Canada, are likely to begin feeling the impact Thursday, the center said.
“This could be a landmark event for Canada in terms of tropical cyclone intensity,” said Chris Fogarty, manager of the Canadian Hurricane Centre, and could even be Canada’s version of Superstorm Sandy. Hurricane Sandy affected 24 states and the entire east coast and caused an estimated $78.7 billion in damage.
Officials in Canada’s Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island urged those in the storm’s path to be on high alert and prepare for the storm’s impact, which killed at least five people and left millions without power this week. devastated many Caribbean islands.
Fiona strengthened to a Category 4 storm over the Atlantic Ocean after crossing the Turks and Caicos Islands early Wednesday and remained so until Friday afternoon.
The National Hurricane Center said in its 8:00 p.m. ET advisory that the storm had weakened slightly but was still packing hurricane-force winds more than 100 miles from the center and tropical storm-force winds more than 300 miles.
It was centered about 215 miles southeast of Halifax on Friday night.
“Although gradual weakening is forecast over the next few days, Fiona is expected to become a strong hurricane-force cyclone as it moves across Atlantic Canada,” the center said. he said.
In Canada, hurricane warnings were issued for Nova Scotia from Hubbards to Brule and from Parson Lake to Francois in Newfoundland. Prince Edward Island and Isle-de-la-Madeleine are also under warning.
“It has the potential to be very dangerous,” said John Lohr, the minister in charge of Emergency Management. for Nova Scotia. “Impacts are predicted to be felt across the province. Every Nova Scotian should prepare today,” Lohr added during the official update Thursday.
Lohr said residents should prepare for damaging winds, high waves, coastal storms and heavy rain, which could cause extended power outages. Emergency officials encouraged people to protect outdoor items, trim trees, charge cell phones and create a 72-hour emergency kit.
According to Canadian Hurricane Center manager Chris Fogarty, the area has not seen a storm this strong in nearly 50 years.
“Please take this seriously because we are seeing meteorological numbers on our weather maps that are rarely seen here,” Fogarty said.
Utility company Nova Scotia Power activated an emergency operations center (EOC) early Friday morning, which will serve as a central coordination area for disaster recovery and response, according to a news release.
The company will also work closely with Nova Scotia Emergency Management.
“We are taking every precaution and will be prepared to respond to Hurricane Fiona as safely and efficiently as possible,” Nova Scotia Power’s lead storm coordinator Sean Borden said in a statement.
In southwestern Newfoundland, fisherman Andy Francis is bracing for a storm this week, pulling one boat out of the water and tying another in a nearby harbor.
“This time, everyone seems to agree that it’s going to be bad,” he said. CBC News. Everyone in the area, he told the station, was preparing to help “minimize the damage.”
“It’s going to be different,” Francis told the CBC.
CNN meteorologists Rob Shackelford and Taylor Ward said winds could reach 160 miles per hour (160 km/h) across Atlantic Canada as Fiona is expected to weaken slightly before making landfall in Nova Scotia.
Prince Edward Island officials have urged residents to prepare for the worst as the storm approaches.
Tanya Mullally, the province’s acting chief of emergency management, said one of the most pressing concerns about Fiona was the historic storm surge it was expected to produce.
“The storm surge will certainly be significant. … Flooding that we have not seen and that cannot be prevented,” Mullally said Thursday during the update.
Center meteorologist Bob Robichaud said the Canadian Hurricane Center’s modeling shows “the surge could be between 1.8 and 2.4 meters (6 to 8 feet) depending on the area.”
Mullally said the northern part of the island will bear the brunt of the storm due to the direction of the winds, which will likely cause property damage and coastal flooding.
Nova Scotia Emergency Management said all provincial campgrounds, beaches and day-use parks, as well as Shubenacadie Wildlife Park, were closed Friday.
Earlier this week, Fiona damaged homes and disrupted critical power and water infrastructure for millions of people in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Power was restored to only 41% of customers on Friday, according to figures from the power grid operator, after Puerto Rico lost power to the entire island as Fiona made landfall on Sunday. LUMA Energy posted on the website the island’s emergency portal system.
Mass power outages are underway as much of Puerto Rico endures extreme heat, causing temperatures to feel as hot as 112 degrees on Thursday, according to the National Weather Service. Temperatures remained in the 80s and 90s on Friday, according to CNN meteorologist Taylor Ward.
Daniel Hernández, director of renewable projects at LUMA, explained that priority will be given to critical locations, including hospitals, before starting repairs on an individual level.
“This is a normal process. The important thing is that everyone is calm… we are working to ensure that 100% of customers are served as soon as possible,” said Hernández.
More than a quarter of customers on the island had no or intermittent water service, according to the emergency portal system.
In the Dominican Republic, Fiona affected more than 8,000 households and destroyed 2,262 people, the country’s head of emergency operations, Maj. Jan. Juan Mendez Garcia.
More than 210,000 homes and businesses were still without water Thursday morning, and another 725,246 customers were without water, he said.
“It was an incredible thing that we’ve never seen before,” Ramona Santana in Higüey, Dominican Republic, told CNN in Spanish this week. “We are on the streets with nothing, no food, no shoes, no clothes. … We have nothing. We have God and hope that help will come.”
Fiona also threatened parts of the Turks and Caicos Islands on Tuesday, and the British territory was still without power earlier this week in Grand Turk, South Caicos, Salt Cay, North Caicos and Middle Caicos, Acting Governor Anya Williams said. islands
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