Canada Slammed With One of Its Strongest Storms Ever

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(Newser)

Fiona knocked out power to more than 500,000 customers in Atlantic Canada on Saturday, damaging homes with strong winds and rain as it made landfall as a big, powerful post-tropical cyclone. Fiona transformed from a hurricane into a post-tropical storm late Friday, but meteorologists cautioned that it still could have hurricane-strength winds and would bring drenching rains and huge waves, per the AP. More than 414,000 Nova Scotia Power customers—about 80% of the province of almost 1 million—were affected by outages Saturday morning. Over 82,000 customers in the province of Prince Edward Island were also without power, while NB Power in New Brunswick reported 44,329 were without electricity.

The fast-moving Fiona made Nova Scotia landfall before dawn Saturday, with its power down from the Category 4 strength it had early Friday when passing by Bermuda. The Canadian Hurricane Center tweeted early Saturday that Fiona has the lowest pressure ever recorded for a storm making landfall in Canada. Forecasters had warned it could be one of the most powerful storms to hit the country. A state of local emergency has been declared by the mayor and council of the Cape Breton Regional Municipality amid widespread power outages, road closures, and damage to homes. “There are homes that have been significantly damaged due to downed trees,” said Amanda McDougall, mayor of the municipality. “We’re also seeing houses that their roofs have completely torn off, windows breaking in. There is a huge amount of debris in the roadways.”

She added no injuries have yet been reported. Hurricanes in Canada are somewhat rare, in part because once the storms reach colder waters, they lose their main source of energy. But post-tropical cyclones still can have hurricane-strength winds, although they have a cold core and no visible eye. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau decided to delay his trip to Japan for the funeral for assassinated former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. “Listen to the instructions of local authorities and hang in there for the next 24 hours,” he said. The US’ National Hurricane Center said Fiona had maximum sustained winds of 90mph Saturday as it moved across eastern Canada. A hurricane watch has been issued for coastal expanses of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland. Fiona so far has been blamed for at least five deaths: two in Puerto Rico, two in the Dominican Republic, and one in Guadeloupe.

(Read more Canada stories.)

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