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Fiona: Port aux Basques under state of emergency

The town of Port aux Basques in Newfoundland and Labrador is in a state of emergency as first responders deal with electrical fires, residential flooding and washouts from post-tropical storm Fiona.

According to the province’s RCMP, Fiona wreaked havoc on the small coastal town on the far southwestern tip of Newfoundland on Saturday.

Residents have images and videos posted on social networks apartment buildings washed away by the sea, flooded roads and ruined houses. By Saturday morning, residents across the East End Channel had been ordered to evacuate.

Around 11:30 a.m. local time, the RCMP issued a notice to residents, asking them to “refrain from any risky behavior,” including taking photos or videos in flooded areas.

“It’s not safe. People are putting themselves and first responders at unnecessary risk,” the RCMP said in the advisory posted on Twitter.

Newfoundland Power, which provides electricity to 600 communities across the province, said in a statement on Twitter on Saturday that “conditions have rapidly deteriorated” in the Port aux Basques area, delaying their ability to respond to outages.

Environment Canada has issued several warnings for the region and predicts an additional 30-50mm of rain is expected from Fiona on Saturday, on top of the 40-50mm previously reported.

A wreckage wind warning is also in effect with winds expected to shift to the southwest early Saturday evening but “remain strong with widespread gusts to 110km/h expected for a few hours before easing”, the weather agency said on its website.

Environment Canada also says heavy downpours are likely to cause flash flooding and pooling of water on roads in the region.

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