Storm Fiona hits Canada’s east coast, forcing evacuations

Storm Fiona hits Canada's east coast, forcing evacuations
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HALIFAX, Nova Scotia, Sept 24 (Reuters) – Powerful Storm Fiona slammed into eastern Canada on Saturday with gale-force winds, forcing evacuations, downing trees and power lines and leaving hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses without power.

The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said the center of the storm, downgraded to Post-Tropical Cyclone Fiona, was now in the Gulf of St. Lawrence after racing through Nova Scotia.

After taking its toll on Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, the storm hit Newfoundland but is now likely to weaken, the NHC said.

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Port aux Basques, on the southwestern tip of Newfoundland, has declared a state of emergency and is evacuating parts of the city that have suffered flooding and road slides, according to Mayor Brian Button and police.

“First responders are dealing with multiple electrical fires, residential flooding and mudslides. Residents are asked to obey evacuation orders and find a safe place to weather the storm,” the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Newfoundland said on Twitter.

“This is hitting us very, very hard right now,” Button said in a video posted Saturday morning on Facebook, urging residents to stay indoors or, if asked, to evacuate. “We have enough destruction in the city… We don’t need anyone else injured or injured during this.”

Homes along the shoreline were destroyed by the storm surge, the CBC reported, showing images of debris and extensive damage in the city.

Fiona, which battered Puerto Rico and other parts of the Caribbean nearly a week ago, made landfall between Canso and Guysborough, Nova Scotia, where the Canadian Hurricane Center said it recorded what may have been the lowest barometric pressure of any storm to date. made landfall in the history of the country.

Ian Hubbard, a meteorologist at the Canadian Hurricane Centre, told Reuters it appears Fiona lived up to expectations that it would be a “historic” storm.

“It looked like he had the potential to break the all-time record in Canada, and it looks like he did,” he said. “We’re not out of this yet.”

Storms are not uncommon in the region and typically cross quickly, but Fiona is expected to impact a very large area.

Hubbard said Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island still have many hours of high winds, rain and storm surge, and the west coast of Newfoundland would be battered throughout the day.

While scientists have yet to determine whether climate change influenced Fiona’s strength or behavior, there are strong evidence that these devastating storms are getting worse.


About 79% of customers, or 414,000, were without power in Nova Scotia, and 95%, or 82,000, had lost power in Prince Edward Island, the utilities said. The region was also experiencing irregularities in mobile phone service. Police across the region reported multiple road closures.

“She was a wild ride last night, it 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 felled in his backyard but did not damage his house.

Sydney recorded wind gusts of 88 mph (141 kph), Hubbard said.

The storm weakened slightly as it traveled north. At 11 a.m. (1500 GMT), it was over the Gulf of St. Lawrence about 100 miles (160 km) west-northwest of Port aux Basques, with maximum winds of 80 miles per hour (130 kph) and moving toward north about 25 mph (41 kph), the NHC said.

Fiona is expected to maintain hurricane-force winds through Saturday afternoon, the NHC said.

Like a powerful hurricane when it hit the Caribbean islands earlier in the week, Fiona killed at least eight and left virtually all of Puerto Rico’s 3.3 million people without power during a sweltering heat wave. almost a million people ran out of power five days later.

No casualties have yet been reported in Canada.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delayed Saturday’s departure for Japan, where he was to attend former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s funeral, to receive briefings and support the government’s emergency response, press secretary Cecely Roy said on Twitter.

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

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Reporting to Eric Martyn in Halifax and John Morris in Stephenville; Additional reporting by Ivelisse Rivera in San Juan, Puerto Rico and Ismail Shakil and Steve Scherer in Ottawa; Written by Steve Scherer; Edited by Frances Kerry and Bill Berkrot

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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