HomeTechnologyMobileStorm Fiona hammers Canada's east coast, forcing evacuations

Storm Fiona hammers Canada’s east coast, forcing evacuations

HALIFAX, Nova Scotia, Sept. 24 (Reuters) – Powerful storm Fiona slammed into eastern Canada with hurricane strength on Saturday, forcing evacuations, blowing over trees and power lines, and leaving hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses without electricity.

The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said the storm’s center, 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 has ravaged Newfoundland but is now likely to weaken, the NHC said.

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Port aux Basques on Newfoundland’s southwestern tip has declared a state of emergency and is evacuating parts of the city that have suffered from flooding and washed away roads, Mayor Brian Button and police said.

“First responders are dealing with multiple electrical fires, residential flooding and washouts. Residents are being asked to follow 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 Saturday morning video posted to Facebook, urging residents to stay indoors or evacuate if requested. “We’ve got quite a bit of destruction in the city… We don’t need anyone else hurt or injured during this.”

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

Fiona, who attacked 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 air pressure of any storm to make landfall. to get involved in the history of the country.

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

“It looked like it had the potential to break the record in Canada, and it looks like it does,” he said. “We’re still not over it.”

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

Hubbard said Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island still had many hours of strong winds, rain and storm surge ahead, and Newfoundland’s west coast would be battered throughout the day.

While scientists have not yet determined whether climate change has affected Fiona’s strength or behavior, there is strong evidence that these devastating storms are getting worse.

HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS WITHOUT POWER

About 79% of customers, or 414,000, were without power in Nova Scotia, and 95%, or 82,000, were out of power on Prince Edward Island, utility companies said. The region also had to deal with spotty mobile telephony. Police in the region reported multiple road closures.

“She was on a wild ride last night. It sounded like the whole roof was going to fly off,” said Gary Hatcher, a retiree who lives in Sydney, Nova Scotia, near where the storm made landfall. A maple fell over in his backyard, but didn’t damage his house.

Sydney recorded gusts of 141 km/h, Hubbard said.

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

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

As a powerful hurricane that ravaged Caribbean islands earlier this week, Fiona killed at least eight people during a blistering heat wave and cut power to virtually all of Puerto Rico’s 3.3 million residents. Five days later, nearly a million people were without power.

No casualties have yet been reported in Canada.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has postponed Saturday’s departure to Japan, where he would 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 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 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; Editing by Frances Kerry and Bill Berkrot

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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