Category 3 Hurricane Fiona pummeled Bermuda with heavy rain and winds on Friday as it swept across the island on a track that still has it approaching northeastern Canada late this evening as a powerful storm.
Authorities in Bermuda opened shelters and closed schools and offices in front of Fiona. Prime Minister David Burt sent a tweet urging residents to “take care of yourselves and your families. Let’s all remember to check and monitor our elderly, family and neighbors.”
The Canadian Hurricane Center has issued a hurricane watch for extensive coastal areas of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. According to the US National Hurricane Center, Fiona is expected to reach the region “as a large and powerful post-tropical cyclone with hurricane-force winds”.
“This could certainly be one of the most severe systems to hit eastern Canada,” said Ian Hubbard, a meteorologist at the Canadian Hurricane Center in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.
Hubbard said the center of the storm will arrive sometime between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. Saturday morning, but winds and rain will arrive late Friday night.
Authorities in Nova Scotia put out an emergency alert warning of Fiona’s arrival and urging people to stay in, avoid the coast, recharge equipment and stock up on enough supplies for at least 72 hours. Officials warned of extended power outages, wind damage to trees and structures, and coastal flooding and possible road damage.
Fiona had maximum sustained winds of 130 mph on Friday, the U.S. Centers said. It was centered about 250 miles north of Bermuda, moving northeast at 35 mph.
Hurricane-force winds extended up to 115 miles outward from the center, and tropical storm-force winds up to 345 miles outward.
“Strong winds, storm surge and heavy rainfall are expected across parts of Atlantic Canada this evening and Saturday,” the center said Friday. “Life-threatening surf and rip conditions are expected along the eastern Atlantic coast.”
A hurricane warning was in effect from Hubbards to Brule, Nova Scotia; Prince Edward Island; Isle-de-la-Madeleine; and Newfoundland from Parson’s Pond to Francois.
Fiona has been blamed for at least five deaths so far – two in Puerto Rico, two in the Dominican Republic and one on the French island of Guadeloupe.
Hurricanes in Canada are somewhat rare, in part because when storms reach colder water, they lose their main source of energy. and become extratropical. However, these cyclones can still have hurricane-force winds, even though they have a cold core instead of a warm core. Their shape can also be different. They lose their symmetrical shape and may look more like a comma.
Bob Robichaud, a Canadian Hurricane Center warning preparedness meteorologist, told a news conference that modeling predicted an “all-time” low pressure across the region that would bring storm surges and rainfall between 10 and 20 centimeters (4 to 8 inches). .
Cape Breton Regional Municipality Mayor Amanda McDougall said officials are preparing shelters for people ahead of the storm.
“We’ve been through these types of events before, but not to this extent, I’m afraid,” he said. “The impact is big, real and immediate.”
Dave Pickles, CEO of Nova Scotia Power, said widespread power outages are expected.
Meanwhile, the National Hurricane Center reported a tropical depression in the southern Caribbean. CBS News weather producer David Parkinson says models show Tropical Depression Nine moving over Cuba as Hurricane Hermene, which will then rapidly intensify before making landfall on Florida’s Gulf Coast, likely midweek, then possibly crossing Florida and heading up the U.S. East Coast. .
It was located about 615 miles (985 kilometers) east-southeast of Kingston, Jamaica. It had maximum sustained winds of 35 mph (55 km/h) and was moving at 13 mph (20 km/h).
Before hitting Bermuda, Fiona caused severe flooding and devastation in Puerto Rico, prompting US President Joe Biden to say on Thursday that the full force of the federal government was ready to help the US territory recover.
Speaking at a briefing with Federal Emergency Management Agency officials in New York, Biden said, “We’re all in this together.”
Biden noted that hundreds of FEMA and other federal officials are already in Puerto Rico, where Fiona caused an island-wide power outage.
More than 60% of electricity customers were without power Thursday and a third of customers were without water, while local officials said they could not say when service would be fully restored.
As of Friday, hundreds of people have enteredremained isolated by blocked roads for five days after the hurricane hit the island. Frustration grew for people like Nancy Galarza, who tried to call for help from work crews spotted from a distance.
“Everybody’s going there,” he said, pointing to crews at the base of the mountain helping others cut off by the storm. “No one comes here to see us. I’m worried about all the seniors in this community.”
At least five landslides covered the narrow road to his community in the steep mountains around the northern city of Caguas. The only way to reach the settlement was to climb over thick mounds of mud, rock and debris left behind by Fiona, whose floodwaters shook the foundations of nearby homes with earthquake-like force.
At least eight of Caguas’ 11 communities were completely isolated, said Luis González, the local government’s recovery and reconstruction inspector.
It was one of at least six municipalities where teams had not yet reached some areas. People there often depend on neighbors for help, as they did after Hurricane Maria, a Category 4 storm in 2017 that killed nearly 3,000 people.
Danciel Rivera arrived in Caguas country with a church group and tried to bring some cheer by dressing up as a clown.
“It’s very important right now,” he said, noting that people have never fully recovered from Hurricane Maria.
His huge clown shoes crunched through the mud as he greeted people whose faces beamed as they smiled at him.