Hurricane Fiona is heading to Atlantic Canada, likely to leave a path of heavy rain, strong winds, power outages and flooding in its wake.
CTVNews.ca outlines Fiona’s destructive potential in five graphics, as residents prepare to brace for the extreme weather ahead of the storm’s landfall.
OVER THE ATLANTIC, TOWARDS N.S.
As of early Friday afternoon, Fiona had been moving over the Atlantic Ocean, north of Bermuda. The storm had battered the island with heavy rain and high winds as a Category 4 storm before weakening to a Category 3.
“As of midday today, Hurricane Fiona was located about 900 kilometres to the south of Halifax, still a very, very powerful storm with winds of 215 kilometres per hour. And the motion at that particular time was 56 kilometres per hour towards the northeast,” said Bob Robichaud of the Canadian Hurricane Centre in a media briefing on Friday. “So it has started that increase in forward speed that we were expecting over the last few days.”
Fiona is expected to make landfall in north-eastern Nova Scotia as a post-tropical storm on Saturday morning. As of Friday, the storm is a Category 3 hurricane and experts say it could maintain that strength by the time it makes landfall.
“If it does, it would be the first time that has happened through Atlantic Canada. It will also likely record the lowest surface pressure in Canada,” Kelsey McEwan, chief meteorologist of CTV’s Your Morning, said on Friday.
After making landfall in Nova Scotia, the storm is expected to continue northward and reach Labrador and Quebec’s Côte-Nord region by Sunday morning, while also gracing the edge of western Newfoundland.
Buckets of rain are in the forecast for almost all of Atlantic Canada and some parts of eastern Quebec.
On the eastern shore of Nova Scotia, as well as Halifax, where Fiona is expected to make landfall, upwards of 250 millimetres of rain is expected.
“We expect some heavy rainfall to develop again this evening into the overnight hours continuing into Saturday morning in some areas,” Robichaud said.
Hurricane-force winds with gusts up to 160 km/h are also expected. The strongest winds will likely be felt in Cape Breton Island, Prince Edward Island, the Gaspésie Peninsula and western Newfoundland, experts say. High winds could also knock out power in much of the affected areas.
“These winds could cause significant treefall and result in extended utility outages. Damage to building cladding and roofing material is likely, including structural damage in certain cases. Winds of this strength could cause windows to break and tear off large overhead highway signs,” Environment Canada said in a warning.
DON’T CATCH THESE WAVES
Off the coast of Nova Scotia, Fiona is expected to bring massive waves, even before it makes landfall.
Early morning Saturday, the waves off the coast of Sable Island, east of Nova Scotia, are expected to reach a peak height of 15 metres.
“We’re seeing some very large waves that are going to reach the coast of Nova Scotia in the overnight hours that will propagate northward into the Gulf of St Lawrence on Saturday morning, and continue on during the day on Saturday as the storm slowly pulls away,” Robichaud said.
Many of the coastal parts of Atlantic Canada are also facing storm surge warnings from Environment Canada. Waves up to eight metres could swallow the shorelines and potentially cause serious flooding.