Officials in 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 killed millions this week switched off electricity.
Residents should brace for damaging winds, high waves, coastal storm surges and heavy rainfall, which can cause prolonged power outages, Lohr said. Emergency officials have encouraged people to secure outdoor items, cut trees, charge cell phones and put together a 72-hour emergency kit.
According to Canadian Hurricane Center manager Chris Fogarty, the region hasn’t seen a storm this intense in about 50 years.
“Please take it seriously because we see meteorological numbers on our weather maps that are rarely seen here,” Fogarty said.
Utility company Nova Scotia Power activated an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) on Friday morning, which will serve as the central coordination area for recovering from and responding to power outages, according to a press release.
The company will also work closely with Nova Scotia’s Emergency Management Office.
“We are taking every precaution and will be ready to respond to Hurricane Fiona as safely and efficiently as possible,” Sean Borden, Nova Scotia Power’s storm line coordinator, said in the release.
“Once Fiona passes Bermuda, the storm is expected to hit Nova Scotia Saturday afternoon. Fiona will become extratropical before impact, but that will do little to prevent the damage Fiona will do,” explained CNN meteorologist Robert Shackelford.
Winds could hit about 100 mph over the Atlantic Ocean in Canada by the time Fiona lands on Nova Scotia, Shackelford said.
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 warned.
Prince Edward Island officials are imploring residents to prepare for the worst as the storm looms.
Tanya Mullally, who serves as the province’s head of emergency management, said one of Fiona’s top concerns is the historic storm surge it is expected to unleash.
She added that due to wind direction, the northern part of the island will bear the brunt of the storm, which is likely to cause property damage and coastal flooding.
Fiona’s power outages continue
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 Islands.
The mass power outage comes as much of Puerto Rico faces extreme heat that caused temperatures as high as 112 degrees Thursday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.
Daniel Hernández, director of renewable projects at LUMA, explained that critical locations, including hospitals, are prioritized before repairs can begin at the individual level.
“This is a normal process. The important thing is that everyone is calm … we are working to ensure that 100% of customers are served as quickly as possible,” said Hernández.
More than 800 people were housed in dozens of shelters across the island as of Wednesday, according to Puerto Rico Housing Minister William Rodriguez.
President Joe Biden has approved a major disaster declaration for U.S. territory, FEMA said. The move gives residents access to grants for temporary housing and home repairs, as well as low-interest loans to cover uninsured property losses.
In the Dominican Republic, Fiona has affected 8,708 homes and destroyed 2,262 homes, according to the country’s director of emergency response, Maj. Gen. Juan Mendez García.
He said more than 210,000 homes and businesses were still in the dark as of Thursday morning and another 725,246 customers were without running water.
“It was something incredible that we have never seen before,” Ramona Santana told CNN en Español in Higüey, Dominican Republic, this week. “We’re out on the street with nothing, no food, no shoes, no clothes, just what’s on our backs. … We have nothing. We have God and hope that help will come.”
Fiona also threatened parts of the Turks and Caicos on Tuesday, and areas of 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 Allison Chinchar, Melissa Alonso, Ana Melgar Zuniga, and Amanda Musa contributed to this report.