Canadian Hurricane Centre says Hurricane Fiona will be ‘historic, extreme event’

The Canadian Hurricane Centre says Hurricane Fiona will make landfall in eastern Nova Scotia as a powerful post-tropical storm early Saturday.

In a Friday afternoon briefing, Bob Robichaud, a warning preparedness meteorologist with the centre, cautioned people not to focus on the hurricane’s track since its effects will be felt across a swath of eastern Canada.

Environment Canada says this includes much of Nova Scotia, P.E.I., southeastern New Brunswick, western and southwestern Newfoundland, and some parts of Quebec bordering the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

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The powerful storm that blasted Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic will bring strong winds, heavy rainfall and significant storm surge into the region.

“It’s still a major hurricane and it’s only 900 kilometres away from us [south of Halifax] and it’s getting bigger,” said Robichaud.

He cautioned it’s difficult for a storm like that to “wind down” as it makes landfall.

WATCH | CBC meteorologists provide Friday afternoon update on Fiona

Atlantic Canadian meteorologists provide Friday update on Fiona

Across Atlantic Canada the warnings continue as Hurricane Fiona approaches. Fiona is expected to make landfall late Friday night or early Saturday morning, bringing with it damaging winds, torrential rain and a potentially dangerous storm surge.

Robichaud said rainfalls of 100 millimetres to 150 millimetres are expected in Nova Scotia, with localized amounts that could be greater.

He said wind speeds won’t drop significantly until Saturday afternoon and into the evening.

WATCH | Video from inside Hurricane Fiona taken by an uncrewed surface vehicle

Video from inside Category 4 Hurricane Fiona

Footage taken by an uncrewed surface vehicle (USV) in the Atlantic Ocean shows the inside of Category 4 Hurricane Fiona.

‘Historic, extreme event’

Robichaud said Fiona is bigger than Hurricane Juan, the 2003 storm that pummeled Nova Scotia. It’s similar in size to Hurricane Dorian, which hit Nova Scotia in 2019, but it’s stronger.

“It is certainly going to be a historic, extreme event for Atlantic Canada,” said Robichaud.

He said the two biggest risks the storm presents for P.E.I. are strong winds, which could exceed 140 km/h, and a large storm surge.

Robichaud said the largest potential for coastal flooding will be Saturday morning on Nova Scotia’s north shore, P.E.I. and eastern New Brunswick.

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