Powerful storm Fiona slammed into eastern Canada on Saturday with hurricane-force winds, nearly a week after devastating parts of the Caribbean.
The US National Hurricane Center (NHC) said the centre of the storm, now called Post-Tropical Cyclone Fiona, was crossing eastern Nova Scotia, bringing high winds and heavy rains.
The storm had weakened somewhat as it travelled north. Earlier on Saturday, the storm was carrying maximum winds of 150km/h (90mph) and barrelling north at around 43km/h, the NHC said.
Experts predicted high winds, storm surges and heavy rainfall from Fiona.
“The centre of it is one thing, but the weather that’s associated with it in terms of the rain and where all the strong winds are, it’s going to be over a much larger area,” Canadian Hurricane Centre meteorologist Ian Hubbard said.
“Many, many places away from the centre of the storm are still going to be seriously impacted from this,” Mr Hubbard told Reuters.
Canadian authorities sent emergency alerts in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, warning of severe flooding along shorelines and extremely dangerous waves. People in coastal areas were advised to evacuate.
The storm could prove more ferocious than the benchmarks of Hurricane Juan in 2003 and Hurricane Dorian in 2019, Canadian Hurricane Centre meteorologist Bob Robichaud told a briefing.
The country's two largest carriers, Air Canada and WestJet Airlines, suspended regional service starting Friday evening.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delayed Saturday’s departure for Japan, where he was to attend the funeral of slain former prime minister Shinzo Abe, to receive briefings and support the government’s emergency response.
Fiona had already battered Caribbean islands earlier in the week, killing at least eight and knocking out power for almost all of Puerto Rico’s 3.3 million people during a sweltering heatwave. Nearly a million customers remained without power five days later.
Trailing Fiona in the Caribbean is Tropical storm Ian, which is expected to become a hurricane on Sunday night. The NHC said that a hurricane watch is in effect for Cayman Islands.
The storms's projected path takes it just south of Jamaica, over western Cuba and into Florida early next week, the hurricane centre said.
Florida governor Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency on Friday, freeing up funding and emergency services in advance of the storm. — Reuters