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

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 killed at least five people and cut power to millions in 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 province’s emergency management office.
“It has the potential to be very dangerous. Impacts are expected to be felt across the province. Every Nova Scotian should prepare today,” Lohr added during an official update Thursday.

Residents should prepare for damaging winds, high waves, coastal storm surge and heavy rainfall that could lead to prolonged power outages, Lohr said. Emergency officials have urged 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 overnight, according to the National Hurricane Center. It was whipping sustained winds of 125 mph with stronger gusts, the center said.

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

“As Fiona passes Bermuda, the storm is expected to affect Nova Scotia on Saturday afternoon. Fiona will become extratropical before landfall, but this will do little to impede the damage that Fiona will cause,” CNN meteorologist Robert Shackelford explained.

Over Atlantic Canada, winds could be around 100 mph (160 km/h) by the time Fiona makes landfall in 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 on 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 threatens.

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

“The storm surge will certainly be significant … Flooding that we have not seen nor can we measure against,” Mullally said Thursday during an update.

She added that the northern part of the island’s stands will bear the brunt of the storm due to the direction of the wind, which is likely to cause property damage and coastal flooding.

Fiona’s blackouts continue

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

The mass power outage comes as much of Puerto Rico endures extreme heat that made temperatures feel as hot as 112 degrees Thursday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.

Many across Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic are still without power or running water as Hurricane Fiona hurtles toward Bermuda

Daniel Hernández, Director of Sustainable Projects at LUMA, explained that critical sites, including hospitals, will be prioritized before repairs can begin at 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 experienced 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 authorized a major disaster declaration for the U.S. territory, FEMA said. The move gives residents the opportunity 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 hit rural San Salvador in the town of Caguas, Puerto Rico on Thursday.

In the Dominican Republic, Fiona affected 8,708 households and destroyed 2,262 homes, according to the nation’s chief of emergency operations, Major General Juan Méndez García.

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 are on the streets with nothing, no food, no shoes, clothes, just what is on your back… We have nothing. We have God and the hope that help will come.”

Fiona also threatened parts of Turks and Caicos on Tuesday, and areas of the British territory were still without power earlier in the week 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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