Hurricane Fiona hit Bermuda with heavy rain early Friday as a Category 4 storm headed toward northeastern Canada.
As of Friday morning, the center of the storm was passing northwest Bermuda with maximum sustained winds near 125 mph and stronger gusts, the National Hurricane Center said. The storm was downgraded to a Category 3 hurricane as it passed the island and upgraded to a Category 4 hurricane a few hours later.
Now, it has its sights set on Atlantic Canada, where the intensity of the storm will be historic for the region.
The Canadian Hurricane Centre said Fiona is expected to reach Nova Scotia waters on Friday night, where “heavy rain” and powerful “hurricane-force winds” are expected to hit Atlantic Canada and eastern Quebec from Friday night.
“This storm is becoming a serious event in Atlantic Canada and eastern Quebec,” it said on its website in an update earlier Friday. “Many weather models are consistent with what we call a deep-mixed low-pressure system that has tropical and intense winter storm characteristics with heavy rainfall and strong winds.”
According to the National Hurricane Center, the hurricane now has maximum sustained winds of 130 mph, with even higher gusts, and is 475 miles south of Halifax, Nova Scotia, moving at about 35 mph. Move northeast.
The Fiona Center is expected to approach Nova Scotia late Friday, moving north to St. Louis Bay. According to the National Hurricane Center, it was Lawrence on Saturday and then further north into Labrador and the Labrador Sea on Sunday.
“Despite expected weakening, Fiona is expected to become a powerful hurricane cyclone as it crosses Atlantic Canada,” the National Hurricane Centre said.
Hurricanes in Canada are relatively rare, and storms typically lose their primary energy sources as they hit cooler waters.
However, Canada’s east coast has seen such storms before, including Hurricane Juan in 2003, which severely affected parts of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island and killed many people, according to the Canadian Hurricane Centre . The storm also caused widespread power outages, severe tree damage and caused record-high coastal water levels, it said.
The North Atlantic Ocean, to which Fiona travels, also represents the fastest-warming waters in the world, with rising sea surface temperatures in the region attributed to climate change.
The hurricane center said strong winds and rain from Fiona are expected to have a “significant impact” on eastern Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, western Newfoundland, eastern Quebec and southeastern Labrador.
“There will also be large waves, particularly along the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and the eastern Gulf of St. Lawrence,” the hurricane center said. It also warned that in Nova Scotia, western Newfoundland and the Gulf of St. There is a high probability of “storm surge” or an abnormal rise in water levels caused by storms in parts of the country. Lawrence. This could bring coastal flooding to parts of Atlantic Canada and bring “large and damaging waves” to the coast.
Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and western Newfoundland are forecast to receive 3 to 6 inches of rain, with up to 10 inches in some areas. The National Hurricane Center said eastern Newfoundland and Quebec could receive up to 2 to 5 inches of rain, while eastern New Brunswick could receive 1 to 3 inches.
The hurricane center also warned of the potential for tree collapse and power outages, noting that “most areas will experience hurricane-force winds.” Construction sites may also be “particularly vulnerable” to the storm, it said.
Fiona left significant damage in its wake, including eight suspected storm-related deaths in Puerto Rico, one confirmed death in the Dominican Republic, and one confirmed death in Guadeloupe.
In Puerto Rico, after houses were destroyed, trees fell and roads were blocked by the hurricane, most of Puerto Rico’s population remains without electricity and access to clean drinking water as recovery efforts continue.
At least 928,000 customers in Puerto Rico were affected by the outage as of early Friday, according to online tracker PowerOutage.us.
Hundreds of FEMA and other federal officials are on the ground to help assist Puerto Rico’s response, President Joe Biden said Thursday at a briefing with FEMA officials in New York.
“We’re all in this together,” the president said, expressing concern that many homes and businesses remain without electricity and clean drinking water.
Biden also noted that Fiona’s devastation came five years after Hurricane Maria, the deadliest natural disaster in the U.S. in more than 100 years, hit Puerto Rico.
“To the people of Puerto Rico who are still hurting by Hurricane Maria five years later,” he said, “our thoughts are with you. We’re not going away. We mean it.”
Mina Al Sharif contributed.