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Storm Fiona hammers east Canada coast, knocks out power to many

Reuters
Storm Fiona hammers east Canada coast, knocks out power to many

PREPARATIONS. Onlookers watch as the Irish Patrol vessel LE James Joyce sails away from the Halifax Waterfront to seek shelter before the arrival of Hurricane Fiona in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada September 23, 2022.

REUTERS/Ingrid Bulmer

(2nd UPDATE) Fiona makes a landfall between Canso and Guysborough, Nova Scotia, where the Canadian Hurricane Center says it recorded what could have been the storm with the lowest barometric pressure to hit land in the country's history

Nova Scotia, CANADA – Powerful storm Fiona slammed into eastern Canada on Saturday, September 24, with hurricane-force winds, blowing over trees and power lines and leaving hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses without electricity.

The US National Hurricane Center said the center of the storm, now called Post-Tropical Cyclone Fiona, was now in the Gulf of St. Lawrence after racing through Nova Scotia. Reports of downed trees and power lines were widespread in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

“She was a wild ride last night, 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. A maple tree was toppled in his back yard but did no damage to his house.

Fiona, which nearly a week ago devastated parts of the Caribbean, made landfall between Canso and Guysborough, Nova Scotia, where the Canadian Hurricane Center said it recorded what could have been the storm with the lowest barometric pressure to hit land in the country’s history.

“We were up all night,” said Dave DeBlois of New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, who said there was no major damage to his home. “Was a bit scary at times,” he said. “You could feel the house sway.”

Some 79% of customers, or 414,000, were without power in Nova Scotia, and 95%, or 82,000, had lost power on Prince Edward Island, utility companies said. The region was also seeing spotty mobile phone service. Police across the region reported multiple road closures.

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The storm weakened somewhat as it travelled north. As of 8 am (1200 GMT), it was over the Gulf of St. Lawrence about 200 miles (340 kilometers) northeast of Halifax, carrying maximum winds of 85 miles per hour (140 kph) and barreling north at around 23 miles per hour (37 kph), the NHC said.

Experts predicted high winds, storm surges, and heavy rainfall from Fiona. Although a gradual weakening was forecast during the next couple of days, Fiona was expected to maintain hurricane-force winds until Saturday afternoon, the NHC said.

Designated a hurricane as it lashed Caribbean islands earlier in the week, Fiona killed at least eight people and knocked out power for virtually all of Puerto Rico’s 3.3 million people during a sweltering heat wave. Nearly a million people remained without power five days later.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delayed Saturday’s departure for Japan, where he was to 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.

A hurricane warning was in effect for much of central Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, home to more than 150,000 people, and parts of Newfoundland, the Miami-based NHC said.

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Canadian authorities sent emergency alerts in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, warning of severe flooding along shorelines and extremely dangerous waves. People in coastal areas were advised to evacuate.

The storm could prove to be more ferocious than the benchmarks of Hurricane Juan in 2003 and Hurricane Dorian in 2019, Canadian Hurricane Centre meteorologist Bob Robichaud told a briefing on Friday.

The country’s two largest carriers, Air Canada and WestJet Airlines, suspended regional service starting Friday evening. – Rappler.com

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