Hurricane Fiona re-strengthens to Category 4 storm as it pummels Bermuda, heads towards Nova Scotia, Canada

BERMUDA– Fiona, a Category 4 hurricane, battered Bermuda on Friday with heavy rain and winds as it swept past the island on a route expected to approach northeast Canada late in the day as a still-strong storm .

Authorities in Bermuda opened shelters and closed schools and offices ahead of Fiona. Michael Weeks, the national security secretary, said there had been no reports of major damage. He urged citizens to stay indoors and off the streets, saying, “We’re not out of the woods yet.”

The Canadian Hurricane Center has issued a hurricane watch over extensive coastal areas of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. The US National Hurricane Center said Fiona was expected to reach the area as a “large and powerful post-tropical cyclone with hurricane-force winds.”

“It certainly has the potential to be one of the worst systems to hit eastern Canada,” said Ian Hubbard, meteorologist at the Canadian Hurricane Center in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

Hubbard said the center of the storm is expected to hit the scene sometime between 9 and 10 a.m. Saturday morning, but wind and rain will arrive late Friday.

Nova Scotia authorities sent an emergency alert to phones, warning of Fiona’s arrival and urging people to say inside to avoid shorelines, charge devices and have enough supplies to last at least 72 hours. Officials warned of prolonged power outages, wind damage to trees and structures, and coastal flooding and possible road wash-off

The US center said Fiona experienced maximum sustained winds of 135 mph on Friday. It was centered about 475 miles (770 kilometers) south of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and traveling northeast at 35 mph (56 km/h).

Hurricane force winds extended up to 185 kilometers (115 miles) from the center and tropical storm winds extended up to 555 kilometers (345 miles) outward.

A hurricane warning was in effect for Nova Scotia from Hubbards to Brule; Prince Edward Island; Isle de la Madeleine; and Newfoundland from Parson’s Pond to Francois.

Fiona has been blamed for at least five deaths so far – two in Puerto Rico, two in the Dominican Republic and one on the French island of Guadeloupe.

Hurricanes in Canada are somewhat rare, in part because once the storms reach colder waters, they lose their primary source of energy. and become extratropical. But these hurricanes can still have hurricane-force winds, albeit with a cold rather than warm core and no visible eye. Their shape can also be different. They lose their symmetrical shape and can more closely resemble a comma.

Bob Robichaud, alert forecaster at the Canadian Hurricane Center, said at a news conference that modeling is forecasting an “all-time” low pressure across the region that would bring storm surges and rainfall of 10 to 20 centimeters (4 to 8 inches). .

Cape Breton Regional Municipality Mayor Amanda McDougall said officials are preparing a shelter for people to enter before the storm hits.

“We’ve seen these types of events before, but my fear is not on this scale,” she said. “The impact will be large, real and immediate.”

Meanwhile, the National Hurricane Center said a tropical depression in the southern Caribbean is expected to hit Cuba as a hurricane early Tuesday and then hit southern Florida early Wednesday.

It was located about 615 miles (985 kilometers) east-southeast of Kingston, Jamaica. It had maximum sustained winds of 35 mph (55 km/h) and was moving at 13 mph (20 km/h).

Before reaching Bermuda, Fiona caused severe flooding and devastation in Puerto Rico, prompting US President Joe Biden to say Thursday that the full force of the federal government stands ready to help the US territory recover.

Biden noted that hundreds of FEMA and other federal officials are already on the scene in Puerto Rico where Fiona caused an island-wide power outage.

More than 60% of electricity customers were left without power on Thursday, even as efforts to restore power were underway. Many customers were left without water, while local officials said they couldn’t say when service would be fully restored.

Socking satellite imagery captured a thermal plot of power in the city of Ponce, Puerto Rico on Thursday compared to August.

As of Friday, blocked roads have left hundreds of people in Puerto Rico isolated for five days after the hurricane swept across the island.

At least five landslides covered the narrow road to their community in the steep mountains surrounding the northern city of Caguas. The only way to reach the settlement was to climb over thick mounds of mud, rocks and rubble left by Fiona, whose floodwaters shook the foundations of nearby houses with earthquake-like force.

At least eight of Caguas’ 11 communities are in complete isolation, said Luis González, municipal recovery and reconstruction inspector.

It was one of at least six communities where crews had yet to reach some areas. People there often rely on help from neighbors, as was the case after Hurricane Maria, a Category 4 storm in 2017 that claimed nearly 3,000 lives.

Copyright © 2022 WABC-TV. All rights reserved. Hurricane Fiona re-strengthens to Category 4 storm as it pummels Bermuda, heads towards Nova Scotia, Canada

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