Hurricane Fiona turns into a deadly Category 4 storm
Hurricane Fiona has strengthened into a Category 4 storm as it travels towards Bermuda.
Claire Hardwick, USA TODAY
After battering Bermuda with heavy rain, strong winds and massive waves, Hurricane Fiona is taking aim at northeastern Canada as forecasters warn of one of the strongest storms on record for the region.
A hurricane warning is in effect for Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, The Magdalen Islands and the coast of Newfoundland as the U.S. National Hurricane Center forecasts hurricane conditions may begin in Atlantic Canada late Friday.
Fiona weakened slightly to a Category 3 hurricane Friday.. The hurricane center still expects the storm to be a “large and powerful post-tropical cyclone with hurricane-force winds,” as it rips through northeastern Canada, threatening significant coastal flooding and 3 to 6 inches of rain with local maximums of up to 10 inches in some areas.
Parts of Atlantic Canada may see “life-threatening flooding, damaging hurricane-force wind gusts and dangerous storm surges,” AccuWeather said.
Widespread power outages are also expected, said Dave Pickles, chief operating officer of the utility company Nova Scotia Power.
RECOVERY BEGINS: In Puerto Rico, Hurricane Fiona leaves a ‘nightmare.’
Friday afternoon, Fiona was located 215 miles south of Halifax, Nova Scotia with maximum sustained winds of 125 mph, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. The storm was racing north at 46 mph.
Before passing through Bermuda, the storm devastated large swaths of the Caribbean, including Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. The Turks and Caicos Islands were also affected by Fiona.
PREVIOUS REPORTS: Hurricane Fiona kicks up massive waves of about 50 feet as Bermuda
The Canadian Hurricane Centre called Fiona a “historic storm for eastern Canada” and a “potential landmark weather event.”
Hurricanes are relatively rare in Canada, where many storms weaken as they reach colder waters. As a result, AccuWeather meteorologists said Fiona “will likely be the most intense storm on record” in terms of the magnitude of the wind gusts.
“This could be the storm of a lifetime for some people,” AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Jonathan Porter said.
Amanda McDougall, mayor of Cape Breton Regional Municipality, said officials were preparing a shelter ahead of the storm.
Fiona drenches Bermuda on way to Canada
Hurricane Fiona pounded Bermuda early Friday when it was still a Category 4 hurricane with heavy rain and wind as authorities opened shelters and closed schools.
Elevated water levels and “large and destructive waves” are expected to continue in Bermuda Friday, according to the National Hurricane Center. Fiona had already kicked up massive waves as it approached the island, with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reporting waves of about 50 feet on Thursday.
HOW TO HELP: Mutual aid, nonprofits to support
Recovery efforts in Puerto Rico after Fiona
More than 60% of households in Puerto Rico remained without power Thursday. A third remained without water.
Puerto Rico’s Electric Energy Authority Director Josué Colón said areas less affected by Fiona should have power by early Friday, but officials did not say when other areas would have power back.
SEE THE PEOPLE, PLACES IMPACTED: Hurricane Fiona floods homes, streets in Puerto Rico
After destroying roads and bridges and causing mudslides, Fiona left hundreds of Puerto Ricans isolated without basic necessities, including food, water and medicine.
At least five people have died after Hurricane Fiona — two in Puerto Rico, two in the Dominican Republic and one in the French island of Guadeloupe.
President Joe Biden on Thursday said he is committing the full force of the federal government to help the island recover from Fiona.
“We’re with you. We’re not going to walk away,” Biden said.
Contributing: The Associated Press
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