Fiona makes landfall and slams the Atlantic coast of Canada with high winds and rain



CNN

Hurricane Fiona, now called a post-tropical cyclone, made landfall in Nova Scotia, crossing Canada’s Atlantic coast early Saturday in what could be a “historic” weather event for the country.

An unofficial barometric pressure of 931.6 mb was recorded at Hart Island, which would make Fiona the lowest pressure land storm on record in Canada, according to the Canadian Hurricane Center. Wind sightings on Beaver Island in eastern Nova Scotia were recorded at 94 mph (152 km/h).

Parts of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island began to feel the storm’s arrival on Saturday morning as winds and rain extending away from the center of the storm cut services public. More than 376,000 customers across Nova Scotia have so far lost power, according to the region’s power outage center.

Residents of New Brunswick, southern Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador are also facing severe weather as Fiona heads north at more than 40 mph (65 km/h) after its landing between Canso and Guysborough in eastern Nova Scotia. Fiona is expected to cross Cape Breton Island on Saturday morning and reach the southeast Labrador Sea by evening.

“The storm is producing high winds and very heavy precipitation,” the Canadian Hurricane Center said before making landfall. “Wide gusts of 80-110 km/h (50-68 mph) have been reported so far over Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and the Magdalen Islands, with a maximum gust of 144 km/h (90 mph) on Beaver Island, Nova Scotia.

Fiona weakened slightly to a Category 2 storm on Friday, but is still expected to bring damaging storm surge, heavy rain and high winds. Fiona had been a Category 4 storm Wednesday morning over the Atlantic after passing the Turks and Caicos Islands and remained so until Friday afternoon.

Atlantic Coast officials have urged those in Fiona’s path to be on high alert and prepare for the impact of the storm, which has already claimed the lives of at least five people and cut the power to millions as it battered several Caribbean islands this week. . Homes and water infrastructure in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and the Turks and Caicos Islands have been badly damaged and many residents are still trying to recover.

Fiona is on track to be an “extreme weather event” in eastern Canada, threatening around two months of rain, forecasters in Canada said Friday.

“This could be a landmark event for Canada in terms of tropical cyclone intensity,” and it could even become Canada’s version of Super Hurricane Sandy, said Chris Fogarty, director of the Canadian Hurricane Center. Sandy in 2012 affected 24 states and the entire east coast, causing damage estimated at $78.7 billion.

Fiona turned post-tropical before making landfall, arriving at the same time as a trough of low pressure and cold air to the north – much like Sandy did, according to Bob Robichaud of the Canadian Hurricane Center.

“What these things tend to do, they tend to get huge, which is what Fiona does again,” he said on Friday. “Sandy was taller than Fiona should be. But the process is essentially the same – where you have two features feeding off each other to create a strong storm as we’ll see overnight and into tomorrow.

According to CNN meteorologist Derek Van Dam, hurricane-force winds can extend up to 185 miles from central Fiona and tropical-storm-force winds up to 345 miles.

Sandbags are around the doors of the Nova Scotia Power building in Halifax ahead of Fiona's scheduled arrival.

In the days leading up to Fiona’s expected arrival, officials stepped up services to help those in need and implored residents to exercise caution.

“It has the potential to be very dangerous,” John Lohr, minister responsible for the Nova Scotia Emergency Management Office, said Thursday. “The impacts are expected to be felt across the province.

Residents should prepare for damaging winds, high waves, coastal storm surges and heavy rains, which can lead to prolonged power outages, Lohr said. Emergency officials encouraged people to secure outdoor items, trim trees, charge cellphones and create a 72-hour emergency kit.

Shelters for residents have been established across Nova Scotia, including several in Halifax County, officials say.

The region hasn’t seen such an intense storm in about 50 years, according to Fogarty.

“Please take it seriously as we see weather numbers on our weather maps that are rarely seen here,” Fogarty said.

A pedestrian protects himself with an umbrella while walking along the Halifax waterfront as rain falls before Hurricane Fiona makes landfall in Halifax, Friday, September 23, 2022.

Prince Edward Island officials have also implored residents to prepare for the worst as the storm looms.

Tanya Mullally, who serves as the province’s chief emergency officer, said one of the most pressing concerns with Fiona is the historic storm surge it is expected to unleash.

“The storm surge is definitely going to be significant. … Flooding that we haven’t seen and can’t measure,” Mullally said in an update Thursday.

Modeling from the Canadian Hurricane Center suggests the surge “depending on the area, could be 1.8 to 2.4 meters (6-8 feet),” Robichaud said.

The northern part of the island is expected to bear the brunt of the storm due to the direction of the winds, which will likely cause property damage and coastal flooding, Mullally said.

All provincial campgrounds, beaches and day-use parks as well as Shubenacadie Wildlife Park were closed on Friday, the Nova Scotia Office of Emergency Management said.

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