Fiona becomes ‘historic storm’ for Eastern Canada, NS issues emergency alarm

Hurricane and tropical storm warnings have been issued in eastern Canada as Hurricane Fiona rages toward the region, slated to make landfall in Nova Scotia as a powerful post-tropical storm early Saturday morning.

Shortly after 11 a.m. Friday, the province issued an emergency warning for “damaging winds, heavy rain and dangerous storm surge”.

“Stay indoors. Avoid the shoreline and rivers,” it read. “Charge devices and have enough supplies for at least 72 hours. Hear further updates from officials.”

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On Friday afternoon, Hurricane Fiona was about 900 km south of Halifax, with maximum sustained winds of 215 km/h, moving northeast at 35 km/h.

Speaking at an afternoon press conference, Bob Robichaud, a meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada, said it’s important that people don’t just focus on the storm’s trail, noting that “severe impacts will be extended far beyond the center.” felt”.

“It’s very powerful,” Robichaud said.

“Right now it’s still a big hurricane, and it’s only 900 kilometers from us, and it’s getting bigger and bigger. So all that momentum is tracked within the storm, so it’s very hard for something like this to relax as it approaches.”

Read more:

While NS braces itself for Fiona, it could compare with Juan and Dorian

Robichaud used the word “historic” several times when describing Fiona. He said the storm will be similar in size to what Nova Scotia saw during Hurricane Dorian in 2019, but more powerful.

“Where it fits in the history books, we’ll have to make that decision afterwards, but it’s definitely going to be a historic, extreme event for Atlantic Canada,” he said.

According to the Canadian Hurricane Center, Hurricane Fiona is expected to move north across Nova Scotia’s waters Friday evening, pass through Cape Breton Saturday morning and then reach the lower northern coast of Quebec and southeastern Labrador early Sunday.

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Severe winds and rain will severely affect eastern Prince Edward Island, eastern Nova Scotia, southern and eastern New Brunswick, western Newfoundland, eastern Quebec and southeastern Labrador,” the Canadian said. Hurricane Center.

“There will also be big waves, especially off the Atlantic coasts of Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and eastern parts of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Finally, there is a high probability of storm surge for parts of Nova Scotia, the Gulf of St. Lawrence and western Newfoundland.”

Click to play video: 'Flights canceled as Fiona Atlantic Canada approaches'

Flights canceled as Fiona approaches Atlantic Canada

Flights canceled as Fiona approaches Atlantic Canada

Most of the affected regions will experience hurricane strength beginning late Friday and continuing through Saturday.

“Similar cyclones of this nature have caused structural damage to buildings. Construction sites can be particularly vulnerable,” the statement said.

“Wind influences will be amplified by foliage on the trees, potentially causing prolonged and widespread power outages.”

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Fiona is expected to transition into a “very powerful” post-tropical storm near Sable Island Friday evening, before making landfall Saturday morning over Nova Scotia’s eastern mainland or western Cape Breton.

Washes possible

The Canadian Hurricane Center said there will be “very significant” rainfall in addition to the wind, especially north and west of Fiona’s runway, where heavy rains could lead to flooding.

The heaviest rainfall is likely to hit eastern Nova Scotia, southwestern Newfoundland and the Gulf of St. Lawrence region.

“Forecasts suggest widespread amounts of 100 to 200mm, but closer to Fiona’s path, more than 200mm is likely,” the statement said.

Read more:

Cape Breton in ‘direct impact zone’ for Hurricane Fiona, mayor warns

“Some districts have recently had to deal with large amounts of rain, and excessive runoff can increase the flooding potential. Washdowns are also possible.”

Rain warnings have been issued for most of Nova Scotia, PEI and southeastern New Brunswick.

The storm will also swell “rough and pounding surf,” especially off parts of Nova Scotia, the Gulf of St. Lawrence and Newfoundland.

Click to play video: 'NS EMO joins Global News Morning with update on Fiona's preparedness'

NS EMO joins Global News Morning with update on Fiona’s preparation

NS EMO joins Global News Morning with update on Fiona’s preparation

Parts of Nova Scotia were able to see waves of up to 10 meters Friday night, while Newfoundland and the eastern parts of the Gulf of St. Lawrence and the Cabot Strait could see waves of more than 40 feet.

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The western Gulf, meanwhile, can see waves of up to eight meters, “probably causing significant erosion to the north-facing beaches of Prince Edward Island.” Iles-de-la-Madeleine will also see some coastal erosion from waves, it said.

Coastal flooding will also threaten parts of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island including the Northumberland Strait, the Gulf of St. Lawrence region including Iles-de-la-Madeleine and eastern New Brunswick, and the Southwest of Newfoundland,” the Canadian Hurricane Center said.

Read more:

Fiona: A list of cancellations as Nova Scotia prepares for a powerful storm

“The greatest risk for coastal flooding is a combination of storm surge with large waves coming ashore. There may also be some coastal flooding off the St. Lawrence Estuary and the Quebec Lower North Shore.”

For most areas, the highest water levels will be around high tide on Saturday morning.

Storm surge warnings have been issued for most of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, southwestern Newfoundland, eastern Nova Scotia and the east coast of New Brunswick.

Storm preparation and emergency shelter

At a news conference Friday afternoon with county and city officials, Jason Mew, the director of the incident management division at the Nova Scotia Emergency Management Office, emphasized that the province will see “really significant impacts” from Fiona.

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“We’re definitely going to be hit hard,” he said.

The Emergency Management Office is asking people to prepare for the storm and possible long-term outages by doing the following:

  • Have enough food and water for 72 hours;
  • Monitor local media for updates;
  • Securing gates, doors and windows;
  • Moving garden furniture and securing garbage cans, hanging plants and anything that can be picked up by the wind;
  • Check radio batteries;
  • Fill vehicles with gasoline and park away from trees;
  • Keep pets indoors;
  • Moving any type of vessel to higher ground;
  • Ensuring personal and family safety;
  • Checking for neighbors;
  • Do not leave candles unattended.

Mew said the office has been in contact with the Canadian Forces but has not yet officially asked for help.

“It’s something we’ll be looking at closely once the impacts hit Nova Scotia,” he said.

Matt Drover, the storm leader for Nova Scotia Power, said the utility expects power outages, but it’s not yet known what the magnitude will be, or how long people will remain in the dark.

“We expect a big storm and we are preparing for that,” he said.

Click to play video: 'Hurricane Fiona: 'Difficult to say' how long NS power outage can last, working to recover as quickly as possible'

Hurricane Fiona: ‘Difficult to say’ how long NS power outage can last, working to recover as quickly as possible

Hurricane Fiona: ‘Difficult to say’ how long NS power outage can last, working to recover as quickly as possible

Nova Scotia Power has more than 500,000 poles across the province. Drover said the company will have 800 people in the field and hundreds more behind the scenes to help restore power.

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Also, Nova Scotia Power has reached out to partners in Ontario, Quebec, Maine and other Atlantic provinces, and other contractors are available if they need to be called in, he said.

Speaking at the press conference, Christina Lamey, a spokesperson for the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, said the municipality plans to open Center 200 in Sydney Friday evening to residents who feel unsafe staying at home, such as those in the storm surge zone.

She said the homeless shelter in central Sydney will also be open to people who do not need housing.

Halifax will also open a number of evacuation centers starting Friday at 8pm for those who need to evacuate or feel unsafe in their homes:

  • Canada Games Centre, Thomas Raddall Drive 26, Halifax;
  • Acadia Center, 636 Sackville Drive, Lower Sackville;
  • St Margaret’s Centre, 12 Westwood Boulevard, Upper Tantallon;
  • Musquodoboit Harbor Community Center, 7900 Hwy 7, Musquodoboit Harbour.

The council has also partnered with the county to open the East Dartmouth Community Center as an emergency shelter for the homeless, employing 902 Man Up staff. The shelter opens Friday at 4 p.m.

Another shelter will open in Sackville at St. Elizabeth Seton Church, with Beacon House serving as service provider.

Click to play video: 'Hurricane Fiona: Emergency official details differ between evacuation, overnight and comfort centers'

Hurricane Fiona: Emergency official details differences between evacuation, night and comfort centers

Hurricane Fiona: Emergency official details differences between evacuation, night and comfort centers

Erica Fleck, assistant chief of emergency management at Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency, added that ground search and rescue teams will be out Friday night to check local encampments and transport unhoused people to the shelters.

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Fleck also said comfort centers will be set up in the town after the storm where people can do things like get food, charge their phones and get more information. More details will be available once the situation has been assessed.

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