Nova Scotia gets ready for Hurricane Fiona
Hurricane conditions were expected to hit Canada tonight as Fiona raced towards the country’s maritime provinces.
Officials warned residents there to prepare for coastal flooding and power outages.
The Canadian Hurricane Centre issued a hurricane watch over extensive coastal expanses of Nova Scotia – a popular university choice for Bermudian students – Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland.
Ian Hubbard, a meteorologist for the Canadian Hurricane Centre in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, said: “It certainly has the potential to be one of the most severe systems to have hit eastern Canada.”
The US National Hurricane Centre said this afternoon: “On the forecast track, the centre of Fiona will approach Nova Scotia later today, move across Nova Scotia and into the Gulf of St Lawrence on Saturday, and then across Labrador and over the Labrador Sea on Sunday.
“Maximum sustained winds are near 130mph with higher gusts.
“Fiona is a Category 4 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.
“Although gradual weakening is forecast, Fiona is expected to be a powerful hurricane-force cyclone when it moves across Atlantic Canada.”
Authorities in Nova Scotia sent emergency alerts about Fiona’s arrival and urged people to say inside, avoid coastlines, charge digital 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 as well as possible road washouts
Fiona so far has been blamed for at least five deaths – two in Puerto Rico, two in the Dominican Republic and one in the French island of Guadeloupe.
Severe hurricanes in Canada are relatively rare, partly because once the storms reach colder waters, they lose their main source of energy.
But the cyclones can still have hurricane-strength winds.
Amanda McDougall, the mayor of Cape Breton Regional Municipality in Nova Scotia, said officials were preparing a shelter for people to enter before the storm arrived.
She said: “We have been through these types of events before, but my fear is, not to this extent. The impacts are going to be large, real and immediate.”
Bob Robichaud, of the Canadian Hurricane Centre, said in a briefing this afternoon that Fiona’s landfall was expected tomorrow morning “as a very powerful post-tropical storm”.
He added: “From that point on the storm is going to move once again towards the northeast as it heads up over northeastern parts of the Gulf of St Lawrence and into eastern Labrador.”
Mr Robichaud said: “Rainfall is one of the things that we’re watching very closely with this storm.
“We expect some heavy rainfall to develop, again, this evening into the overnight hours, continuing into Saturday morning in some areas.”
He added: “As of Friday afternoon, it remains on track to be a severe weather event here in eastern Canada.
“The storm is expected to make landfall in eastern Nova Scotia … but what I recommend is not just to focus on the exact track of the storm, the impacts are going to be felt way beyond where the centre of the storm actually goes.
“Some of these hazards include dangerous winds, heavy rain, large waves and storm surge and some of the impacts will likely be prolonged power outages, wind damage to structures and trees and coastal flooding along with the potential for road washouts especially in some hillier terrain associated with the heavy rainfall.”