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Hurricane Fiona: Canadians on the Atlantic coast are on guard as the storm sweeps past Bermuda

Hurricane Fiona: Canadians on the Atlantic coast are on guard as the storm sweeps past Bermuda
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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.

“Fiona is expected to be a significant and historic weather event for Nova Scotia,” said John Lohr, Minister in charge of the Provincial Emergency Management Office.

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.

On Friday morning, Fiona was a powerful Category 3 storm some 125 miles north of Bermuda, according to the report National Hurricane Center. It was whipping up sustained winds of 125 mph and gusting up to 155 mph, the center said.

“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.

The next named storm could become a monster hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico
Bermuda, which is under a tropical storm warning, closed schools and government offices on Friday. corresponding Michael Weeks, the island’s Secretary 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 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.

“The storm surge will certainly be significant. … Floods that we have neither seen nor measured against,” Mullally said Thursday during an update.

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.

Days after Puerto Rico experienced an island-wide power outage when Fiona landed Sunday, only 38% of customers had their power restored as of Thursday, according to the grid operator LUMA energy.

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.

Many across Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic still lack electricity or running water as Hurricane Fiona rushes toward Bermuda

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.

According to the government, nearly 360,000 customers had intermittent or no water service as of Thursday evening emergency portal system.

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.

Nancy Galarza looks at the damage Hurricane Fiona has done to her community, which remained cut off four days after the storm hit the rural community of San Salvador in the city of Caguas, Puerto Rico, on Thursday.

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.

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