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

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

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

“Fiona is projected to be a significant and historical weather event for Nova Scotia,” said John Lohr, the minister responsible for the provincial Emergency Management Office.
“It has the potential to be very dangerous. Impacts are projected to be felt across the province. Every Nova Scotian should be preparing today,” Lohr added during an official update Thursday.

Residents should brace for damaging winds, high waves, coastal storm surge and heavy rainfall that may lead to prolonged power outages, Lohr said. Emergency officials have encouraged people to secure outdoor items, trim 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 near Bermuda during the overnight hours, according to the National Hurricane Center. It was whipping sustained winds at 125 mph with stronger tastes, the center said.

The center of the storm was about 155 miles northwest of Bermuda and hurricane-force winds were being felt on the island.

“Once Fiona passes by Bermuda, the storm is forecast to impact Nova Scotia by Saturday afternoon. Fiona will become extratropical before impact, but this will do little to hinder the damage that Fiona will cause,” CNN Meteorologist Robert Shackelford explained.

Across Atlantic Canada, winds could be around 100 mph (160 kph) as Fiona makes landfall on Nova Scotia, Shackelford said.

The next named storm could become a monster hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico
Bermuda, which is under a hurricane warning, closed schools and government offices Friday in preparation for the storm, according to Michael Weeks, the island’s minister of national security.

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 Isle-de-la-Madeleine are also under warning.

Prince Edward Island officials are imploring residents to prepare for the worst and hope for the best as the storm looms.

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

“Storm surge is certainly going to be significant. … Flooding that we have not seen nor can we measure against,” Mullally said Thursday during an update.

She added the northern portion of the island stands to bear the brunt of the storm due to the direction of the winds, which will likely cause property damage and coastal flooding.

Fiona’s power outages continues

Earlier this week, Fiona damaged homes and upended critical power 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 as Fiona made landfall Sunday, only 38% of customers had their power restored Thursday, according to power grid operator LUMA Energy.

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

Many across Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic still have no power or running water as Hurricane Fiona churns toward Bermuda

Daniel Hernández, director of renewable projects at LUMA, explained critical places including hospitals will be prioritized 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 have service as soon as possible,” Hernández said.

Nearly 360,000 customers were experiencing intermittent water service or no service at all as of Thursday evening, according to the government’s emergency portal system.

As of Wednesday, more than 800 people were housed in dozens of shelters across the island, according to Puerto Rico’s 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.

Nancy Galarza looks at the damage Hurricane Fiona inflicted on her community, which remained cut off four days after the storm slammed the rural community of San Salvador in the town of Caguas, Puerto Rico, Thursday.

In the Dominican Republic, Fiona affected 8,708 households and destroyed 2,262 homes, according to the nation’s head of emergency operations, Maj. Gen. 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’ve never seen before,” Ramona Santana in Higüey, Dominican Republic, told CNN en Español this week. “We’re in the streets with nothing, no food, no shoes, clothes, just what’s on your back. … We don’t have anything. We have God, and the hope help will come.”

Fiona also threatened parts of the Turks and Caicos Tuesday, and areas of the British territory were still without power earlier this week, namely on Grand Turk, South Caicos, Salt Cay, North Caicos and Middle Caicos, said Anya Williams, acting governor of the islands.

CNN’s Melissa Alonso, Ana Melgar Zuniga, and Amanda Musa contributed to this report.

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