Hurricane Fiona made landfall in Nova Scotia with this “historic extreme event” plunging more than 400,000 residents into darkness, fueling fears of flash flooding on Canada’s Atlantic coast.
Fiona, which developed into a powerful post-tropical cyclone on Friday evening, hit the Canadian coast early on Saturday, hitting the region with heavy rain and winds of up to 148 km/h.
Homes in its path were struck and power lines downed, leaving more than 415,000 residences in Nova Scotia – about 80% of the province’s residents – without power Saturday morning, according to the region’s power outage center.
In the hard-hit province of Prince Edward Island, more than 82,000 customers have been affected, along with about 44,000 in New Brunswick.
Hurricane or tropical storm warnings were in place for much of Canada’s Atlantic coast, including Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and New Brunswick and some parts of Quebec, amid fears that up to 10 inches (25 cm) of rainfall could lead to flash flooding.
On Saturday morning, a state of emergency was declared in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality (CBRM) in Nova Scotia, with authorities urging residents to shelter in place and avoid displacement.
CBRM Mayor Amanda McDougall tweeted: ‘It’s incredibly dangerous out there as the winds from Hurricane Fiona continue to blow. Please stay home and stay safe. If you need to be evacuated, call 911.”
At least 20 people have already been forced to flee their homes in the area and take shelter in shelters that were set up on Friday ahead of the rare weather event.
A woman has been rescued from her home in North Sydney after high winds suddenly blew off the roof of her house, local media outlet CBC reported.
Meanwhile, a fire crew was lucky enough to escape to Halifax when a tree fell on their fire truck while they were inside.
Before Fiona made landfall in Canada, officials warned residents to prepare for what they described as a “historic” storm.
Bob Robichaud, warning preparedness meteorologist for the Canadian Hurricane Center, predicted that Fiona would reach about the same size but be stronger than Dorian in 2019.
“It will certainly be a historic and extreme event for Eastern Canada,” he said Friday.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has warned it would be ‘bad’ for some parts of the country as he urged people to heed the advice of experts.
“It’s going to be bad,” he said Friday.
“We encourage everyone to stay safe and listen to instructions from local authorities and hang in there for the next 24 hours.”
Fiona is expected to continue her journey across the northeast coast on Saturday.
Canada is the latest country affected by Fiona, having crossed the Caribbean killing at least eight people.
One of the victims was a four-month-old baby who died because his mother was unable to get to hospital due to blocked roads.
The hurricane devastated Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Guadeloupe this week, where thousands of people were left without power.
Five days later, more than half of Puerto Rico is still in darkness.
Fiona then hit Bermuda with heavy rain and winds on Friday, and was downgraded to a post-tropical storm before reaching Canada.
Major hurricanes are rare in Canada, with the last severe weather event occurring when Dorian made landfall as a post-tropical storm in 2019.
This storm moved diagonally across central Nova Scotia and dropped nearly 140 millimeters of rain in parts of the province.
Before that, Hurricane Juan hit Nova Scotia in 2003, killing two people and causing extensive damage in the Halifax area.
The Independent Gt