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470,000 people without power after Fiona causes ‘shocking’ damage in Canada


Hundreds of thousands of Canadians were without power on Saturday after former Hurricane Fiona hit the country’s Atlantic provinces, causing what officials said was shocking and devastating damage.

Trees were felled and utility poles were snapped in half, and roofs were torn from buildings and homes swept away after Fiona made landfall in eastern Nova Scotia around 3 a.m., said officials.

When Fiona made landfall near Whitehead, it was a post-tropical cyclone with hurricane-force winds of 90 mph, officials said.

“It’s shocking the damage we’re seeing,” Nova Scotia Premier Tim Houston said Saturday.

A storm surge of over 6 feet hit Prince Edward Island. The damage is likely the worst ever seen in the province, and recovery will take weeks or more, Premier Dennis King said.

No deaths associated with the storm had been reported as of Saturday afternoon.

More than 471,000 customers in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Newfoundland were without power Saturday, according to utilities.

Nova Scotia Power CEO Peter Gregg said some would be without power for “several days.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has canceled plans to attend the state funeral in Japan for slain former prime minister Shinzo Abe. He said the storm had a “terrible impact”.

“We are seeing devastating images coming out of Port aux Basques,” Trudeau said. “PEI. (Prince Edward Island) suffered storm damage the likes of which they had never seen. Cape Breton is also hard hit, as is Quebec.

He said the country’s armed forces would be deployed to help in the aftermath and the federal government would be ready to help.

In Port aux Basques, on Newfoundland’s southwest coast, evacuations were ordered and Mayor Brian Button said “utter devastation” was occurring, CBC reported.

News agency video showed homes being swept away. Phil Boyles fled because of the storm surge. “I took out everything I could try to keep, and now it looks like I can’t even come back,” he said, according to CBC.

Fiona was a Category 4 hurricane as it approached Bermuda.

It caused major damage in Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic earlier this week when it was a Category 1 storm. Fifteen deaths in Puerto Rico and two deaths in the Dominican Republic have been linked to the storm, officials said.

The hurricane was expected to be a historic weather event for eastern Canada.

In Prince Edward Island, King, the premier, said Saturday the damage was likely the worst the province has ever seen.

“It was billed as one of the strongest storms to ever hit our province, and by all accounts, Hurricane Fiona lived up to that billing,” he said.

He was grateful there were no reports of serious injuries or worse, but said “our road to recovery will take weeks or more”.

As of 6 p.m. local time, Fiona was 80 miles northwest of Port aux Basques and moving northeast at 8 mph, the US National Hurricane Center said.

The storm had maximum sustained winds of 70 mph and was expected to move across Labrador and the Labrador Sea late Saturday and Sunday. It will produce large swells and life-threatening rip currents, the center said.

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