Storm Fiona hits the east coast of Canada; Thousands without electricity

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HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (Reuters) – Powerful storm Fiona swept through eastern Canada on Saturday, bringing hurricane-force winds, downing trees and power lines and leaving hundreds of thousands of homes and businesses without power.

The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said the storm’s center, which has been downgraded to Post-Tropical Hurricane Fiona, is now in the Gulf of St. Lawrence after racing through Nova Scotia. Reports of fallen trees and power lines have spread in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

“It was a wild ride last night, it looked like the whole roof was going to blow off,” said Gary Hatcher, a retiree who lives in Sydney, Nova Scotia, near where the storm made landfall. A maple tree fell in his backyard but did not damage his home.

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Fiona, which nearly a week ago hit Puerto Rico and other parts of the Caribbean, made landfall between Canso and Guysboro in Nova Scotia, where the Canadian Hurricane Center said it recorded the lowest barometric pressure of any landfall storm in the country’s history.

“We were up all night,” said Dave DeBlois of New Glasgow, Nova Scotia, who said there was not much damage to his home. “It was a little scary at times,” he said. “You can feel the effect of the house.”

Utility companies said about 79% of customers, or 414,000, were without power in Nova Scotia, and 95%, or 82,000, lost electricity in Prince Edward Island. The area was also experiencing intermittent mobile phone service. Police across the area reported multiple road closures.

TRUDEAU postpones Japan trip

The storm weakened somewhat as it moved north. As of 8 a.m. (1200 GMT), it was over the Gulf of St. Lawrence about 200 miles (340 km) northeast of Halifax, had maximum sustained winds of 85 mph (140 kph) and was moving north at about 23 mph. Clock (37 mph). kph), the NHC said.

Experts expected strong winds, storms and torrential rain from Fiona. The commission said the storm is expected to weaken gradually, but hurricane-force winds are expected to continue into Saturday afternoon.

Fiona was classified as a hurricane as it battered the Caribbean islands earlier in the week, killing at least eight people and causing power outages to nearly all of Puerto Rico’s 3.3 million residents during a severe heat wave. Nearly a million people remained without electricity after five days.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Saturday postponed leaving Japan, where he was due to attend the funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, to receive briefings and support the government’s emergency response, Press Secretary Cecily Roy said on Twitter.

The Miami-based NHC said a hurricane warning is in effect for most areas of central Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, home to more than 150,000 people, and parts of Newfoundland.

Canadian authorities have sent out emergency alerts in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, warning of severe flooding along the beaches and dangerous waves. People in coastal areas were advised to evacuate.

The storm could be more ferocious than the benchmarks for Hurricane Juan in 2003 and Hurricane Dorian in 2019, Bob Rubishod, a meteorologist with the Canadian Hurricane Center told a news briefing Friday.

The country’s two largest airlines, Air Canada and WestJet Airlines, suspended regional service from Friday evening.

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Reporting by Eric Martin in Halifax and John Morris in Stephenville; Additional reporting by Evelis Rivera in San Juan and Puerto Rico and Gobi Babu in Bengaluru, and Ismael Shakeel and Steve Shearer in Ottawa. Editing by Jane Merriman, Frances Kerry and Bill Bercrot

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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