A deadly hurricane that has battered several Caribbean island nations this week is bearing down on Bermuda before making landfall in Canada this weekend, where residents have been warned to brace for strong winds and heavy rain.
Officials in Bermuda, as well as Canada’s Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, are urging those in the storm’s path to be on high alert and prepare for the impact of Hurricane Fiona, which has already claimed at least five lives and caused power outages. millions this week.
“Fiona is expected to be a significant and historic weather event for Nova Scotia,” said John Lohr, manager of the provincial Office of Emergency Management.
“It has the potential to be very dangerous. The effects are expected to be felt throughout the province. All Scots should be preparing today,” Lohr added in an official update on Thursday.
Lohr said residents should brace for damaging winds, high waves, coastal storm surges and heavy rain. Emergency officials have encouraged people to protect outdoor items, trim trees, charge cellphones and create a 72-hour emergency kit.
Fiona is a powerful Category 4 storm but is on track to weaken slightly to a strong Category 3 as it passes near Bermuda overnight Friday, CNN meteorologist Robert Shackelford said.
“Once Fiona passes Bermuda, the storm is expected to impact Nova Scotia by Saturday afternoon. Fiona will become extratropical before impact, but that will do little to impede Fiona’s damage,” explained Shackelford.
Across Atlantic Canada, winds could reach 100 mph (160 km/h) when Fiona makes landfall in Nova Scotia, Shackelford said.
The storm had sustained winds of 130 mph early Friday and was located 185 miles west of Bermuda and 1,000 miles south-southwest of Nova Scotia, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Bermuda, which is under a hurricane warning, closed schools and government offices on Friday to prepare for the storm, according to the island’s national security minister, Michael Weeks.
In Canada, hurricane warnings are in place for Nova Scotia from Hubbards to Brule and Newfoundland from Parson’s Pond to Francois. Prince Edward Island and Isle-de-la-Madeleine are also under warning.
Prince Edward Island officials are urging residents to prepare for the worst and hope for the best as the storm progresses.
Tanya Mullally, who serves as the province’s head of emergency management, said one of her biggest concerns with Fiona is the historic storm surge it will unleash.
“The storm surge will be important, without a doubt. … Flooding that we haven’t seen and we can’t measure,” Mullally said in an update Thursday.
He added that the northern part of the island will bear the brunt of the storm due to the direction of the wind, which will cause property damage and coastal flooding.
Earlier this week, Fiona damaged homes and knocked out critical power and water infrastructure for millions of people across Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and the Turks and Caicos.
Days after Puerto Rico experienced an island-wide blackout when Fiona made landfall on Sunday, only 38% of customers had power back on Thursday, according to power grid operator LUMA Energy.
A massive power outage is occurring as much of Puerto Rico experiences extreme heat, which caused temperatures to feel as hot as 112 degrees Thursday afternoon, according to the National Weather Service.
Daniel Hernández, director of renewable projects at LUMA, explained that priority will be given to critical locations, including hospitals, before starting repairs on an individual level.
“This is a normal process. It is important that everyone is calm… we are working so that 100% of customers have service as soon as possible”, said Hernández.
Nearly 360,000 customers were experiencing intermittent or no water service as of late Thursday, according to the government’s emergency portal system.
As of Wednesday, more than 800 people were in dozens of shelters on the island, according to Puerto Rico Housing Secretary William Rodriguez.
President Joe Biden has approved a major disaster declaration for the US territory, FEMA said. The move allows residents to access temporary housing and home repair grants, as well as low-interest loans to cover uninsured property losses.
In the Dominican Republic, Fiona affected 8,708 homes and destroyed 2,262 properties, according to the nation’s head of emergency operations, Juan Méndez García.
He said more than 210,000 homes and businesses were still without water Thursday morning, and another 725,246 customers were without water.
“It was something we’ve never seen before,” Ramona Santana told CNN en Español this week in Higüey, Dominican Republic. “We are on the street with nothing, food, shoes, clothes, with what you have on your back. … We have nothing. We have God, and hope that help will come.”
Fiona also threatened parts of the Turks and Caicos on Tuesday, and areas of the British territory were still without power this week, including Grand Turk, South Caicos, Salt Cay, North Caicos and Middle Caicos, said Anya Williams, Acting the governors the islands