Fiona rushes to Atlantic Canada with heavy rain and wind: NPR

A pedestrian protects himself with an umbrella on Friday as he walks along the Halifax waterfront as rain falls before Hurricane Fiona makes landfall.

Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press via AP

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Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press via AP

A pedestrian protects himself with an umbrella on Friday as he walks along the Halifax waterfront as rain falls before Hurricane Fiona makes landfall.

Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press via AP

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia – Rain and strong winds battered Atlantic Canada as Fiona closed in early Saturday as a large and powerful post-tropical cyclone, and Canadian forecasters warned it could s act of one of the strongest storms in the country’s history.

Fiona turned from a hurricane into a post-tropical storm on Friday evening, but meteorologists warned it could still experience hurricane-force winds and bring torrential rains and huge waves.

More than 250,000 Nova Scotia Power customers – about half of all customers in the province – were affected by outages just after 1 a.m. local time. The tally increased by another 28,000 by the end of the hour.

The fast-moving Fiona was expected to make landfall in Nova Scotia before dawn on Saturday, with its power lower than the Category 4 power it had early Friday when passing through Bermuda, although authorities have not reported no serious damage.

The Canadian Hurricane Center has issued a hurricane watch for the coastal stretches of 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.”

“It’s going to get ugly,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who decided to delay his trip to Japan for the funeral of slain former prime minister Shinzo Abe.

“We sure hope there won’t be much to do, but we think there probably will be,” Trudeau said. “Listen to instructions from local authorities and hang in there for the next 24 hours.”

The US Hurricane Center said Fiona was at Category 2 strength Friday night, with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph (169 kph). It was centered about 140 miles (220 kilometers) southeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia, heading northeast at 46 mph (74 kph).

Hurricane-force winds extended out to 185 miles (300 kilometers) from the center and tropical storm-force winds extended out to 345 miles (555 kilometers).

“This is definitely going to be one of, if not the strongest, tropical cyclone to affect our part of the country,” said Ian Hubbard, meteorologist at the Canadian Hurricane Center in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. “It’s definitely going to be as bad and as bad as anything I’ve seen.”

Hubbard said the storm was weakening as it moved over cooler waters, and he estimated it highly unlikely to make landfall with hurricane force.

Post-tropical cyclones can pack hurricane-force winds

Hurricanes in Canada are quite rare, in part because once the storms reach colder waters, they lose their main source of energy. But post-tropical cyclones can still have hurricane-force winds, although they have a cold core and no visible eyes. They also often lose their symmetrical shape and look more like a comma.

“Still solid. But it’s getting very scary,” Cape Breton Regional Municipality mayor Amanda McDougall told The Associated Press.

Locals rushed to stock up on essentials and worked to protect their properties from storms on Friday.

At the Samsons Enterprises shipyard in the small Acadian community of Petit-de-Grat on Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island, Jordan David helped his friend Kyle Boudreau moor Boudreau’s “Bad Influence” lobster boat.

“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,” David said, dressed in his waterproof gear. outside.

Bob Robichaud, warning preparedness meteorologist for the Canadian Hurricane Center, said Fiona is shaping up to be a bigger storm system than Hurricane Juan, which caused extensive damage in the Halifax area in 2003. .

He added that Fiona was about the same size as post-tropical storm Dorian in 2019. “But it’s stronger than Dorian was,” he said. “It will certainly be a historic and extreme event for Eastern Canada.”

Christina Lamey, spokeswoman for the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, said Sydney’s Center 200 sports arena was open Friday evening to accommodate residents who wanted to evacuate their homes during the storm. Halifax has announced that it will open four evacuation centers.

Prince Edward Island officials have sent an emergency alert to phones warning of the possibility of severe flooding on the province’s north shore. “Immediate efforts should be made to protect property. Avoid shorelines, waves are extremely dangerous. Residents of these areas should be prepared to relocate if necessary,” the alert reads.

Nova Scotia authorities also 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. for at least 72 hours. Officials warned of prolonged power outages, wind damage to trees and structures, coastal flooding and possible road washouts.

So far Fiona has been charged with at least five deaths – two in Porto Ricotwo in the Dominican Republic and one in Guadeloupe.

Meanwhile, the National Hurricane Center said New Tropical Storm Ian in the Caribbean is expected to continue to strengthen and hit Cuba early Tuesday like a hurricane and then hit southern Florida early Wednesday.

It was centered about 385 miles (620 kilometers) southeast of Kingston, Jamaica. It had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph (65 km/h) and was moving west-northwest at 12 mph (19 km/h). A hurricane watch has been issued for the Cayman Islands.

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