Hurricane Fiona: As the storm passes near Bermuda, Canadians on the Atlantic coast are on guard



CNN

A deadly hurricane that hit several Caribbean island nations this week is now hitting Bermuda before crashing into Canada this weekend, where residents have been warned to prepare for dangerously strong winds and heavy rain.

Officials from Canada’s Bermuda, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island are urging those in the storm’s path to stay on high alert and prepare for the impact of Hurricane Fiona, which has already claimed the lives of at least five people and cut off power for millions this week.

“Fiona is expected to be a significant and historic weather event for Nova Scotia,” said John Lohr, the minister in charge of the provincial emergency management office.

“It has the potential to be very dangerous. The impacts are expected to be felt throughout the province. Every New Scotsman should get ready today, ”Lohr added during an official update Thursday.

Residents should prepare for damaging winds, high waves, coastal swells and heavy rains that could lead to prolonged power outages, Lohr said. Emergency officials encouraged people to protect outdoor items, cut trees, charge cell phones, and create a 72-hour emergency kit.

Fiona was downgraded to a powerful Category 3 storm early Friday as it passed close to Bermuda at night, according to the National Hurricane Center. She was whipping sustained 125 mph winds with stronger gusts, the center said.

The center of the storm was about 155 miles northwest of Bermuda, and hurricane winds could be felt on the island.

“Once Fiona moves to Bermuda, the storm is expected to hit Nova Scotia by Saturday afternoon. Fiona will go extra-tropical before impact, but that will do little to hinder the damage Fiona will cause, ”CNN meteorologist Robert Shackelford explained.

Across Atlantic Canada, winds could be around 100 mph (160 km / h) as Fiona lands in Nova Scotia, Shackelford said.

Bermuda, which is on hurricane alarms, closed schools and government offices Friday in preparation for the storm, according to Michael Weeks, the island’s national security minister.

In Canada, hurricane warnings are in place for Nova Scotia from Hubbards to Brule and in Newfoundland from Parson’s Pond to Francois. Prince Edward Island and Madeleine Island are also on alert.

Officials on Prince Edward Island are pleading with residents to prepare for the worst and hope for the best as the storm looms.

Tanya Mullally, who serves as the province’s chief of emergency management, said one of Fiona’s most pressing concerns is the historic storm surge it is expected to unleash.

“The storm surge will certainly be significant. … Floods that we have neither seen nor measured, ”Mullally said in an update Thursday.

He added that the northern part of the island is bearing the brunt of the storm due to the direction of the winds, which will likely cause property damage and coastal flooding.

Earlier this week, Fiona damaged homes and upended critical energy and water infrastructure for millions of people across Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Turks and Caicos.

Days after Puerto Rico experienced an island-wide blackout when Fiona landed on Sunday, only 38 percent of customers had power restored on Thursday, according to grid operator LUMA Energy.

The mass power outage is occurring as much of Puerto Rico endures extreme heat, which caused temperatures as high as 112 degrees Thursday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.

Daniel Hernández, director of renewable projects at LUMA, explained that critical locations, including hospitals, will be given priority before repairs can begin on an individual level.

“This is a normal process. The important thing is that everyone is calm … we are working to ensure that 100% of customers receive service as soon as possible, “said Hernández.

Nearly 360,000 customers were using intermittent water service or had no service until Thursday night, according to the government’s emergency portal system.

As of Wednesday, more than 800 people have been housed in dozens of shelters across the island, according to Puerto Rico Housing Secretary William Rodriguez.

President Joe Biden has approved a major disaster declaration for the US territory, FEMA said. The move allows residents to access grants for temporary housing and home repairs, as well as low-interest loans to cover uninsured property losses.

In the Dominican Republic, Fiona struck 8,708 families and destroyed 2,262 homes, according to the nation’s head of emergency operations, Maj. Gene. Juan Mendez Garcia.

He said more than 210,000 homes and businesses were still in the dark Thursday morning and another 725,246 customers were without running water.

“This was something incredible that we have never seen before,” Ramona Santana in Higüey, Dominican Republic told CNN en Español this week. “We are on the streets with nothing, no food, no shoes, clothes, just what you have on your back. … We have nothing. We have God and the help of hope will come ”.

Fiona also threatened parts of Turks and Caicos on Tuesday, and areas of British territory were still powerless earlier this week, most notably on Grand Turk, South Caicos, Salt Cay, North Caicos and Middle Caicos, Anya Williams said. interim governor of the island.

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