Hurricane Fiona hitting Bermuda before seeing Canada
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Fiona, a Category 3 hurricane, lashed Bermuda with heavy rain and winds on Friday morning as it swept across the island on a track expected to approach northeastern Canada later in the day as a still-strong storm.
Authorities in Bermuda opened shelters and closed schools and offices ahead of Fiona. Premier David Burt sent out a tweet urging residents to “take care of yourself and your family. Let’s all remember to check and look after your elderly, family and neighbours.”
The Canadian Hurricane Center has issued a hurricane watch for large stretches of the coast of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. The National Hurricane Center in Miami said Fiona was expected to make landfall as a “large, strong post-tropical cyclone with hurricane-force winds.”
“It’s going to be a storm everyone remembers when it’s all said and done,” said Bob Robichaud, warning preparedness meteorologist for the Canadian Hurricane Centre.
Meanwhile, CBS News Weather Producer David Parkinson points to Tropical Depression 9, which he says was given that label Friday morning by the National Hurricane Center in Miami. Parkinson says models show it moving over Cuba as Hurricane Hermene, then rapidly intensifying before hitting Florida’s Gulf Coast by probably midweek, then perhaps crossing Florida and heading up the U.S. East Coast.
As of early Friday, the system was about 615 miles east-southeast of Kingston, Jamaica.
The Hurricane Center says Hermene could land as a powerful Category 2 hurricane, meaning its winds would be up to 110 mph.
The U.S. Hurricane Center said Fiona had maximum sustained winds of 125 mph Friday morning. It was centered about 155 miles northwest of Bermuda and 765 miles south-southwest of Halifax, Nova Scotia. It was moving north-northeast at a hurricane speed of 21 mph.
Hurricane-force winds extended outward up to 115 miles from the center, and tropical storm-force winds extended outward up to 345 miles.
So far, Fiona has been blamed for at least five deaths – two in Puerto Rico, two in the Dominican Republic and one on the French island of Guadeloupe.
Hurricanes in Canada are somewhat rare, in part because once the storms reach colder waters, they lose their main source of energy. and become extratropical. But those cyclones can still have hurricane-force winds, albeit with a cold core instead of a warm core and no visible eye. Their shape can also be different. They lose their symmetrical shape and may look more like a comma.
Robichaud said in a news conference that the modeling projected low pressure “all the time” in the region, which would bring storm surge and rainfall between 4 and 8 inches.
Amanda McDougall, the mayor of Cape Breton Regional Municipality, said officials are preparing a shelter for people to enter before the storm arrives.
“I’ve been through events like this before, but my fear is not to this extent,” she said. “The effects will be big, real and immediate.”
Nova Scotia Power chief operating officer Dave Pickles said widespread power outages were expected.
Before arriving in Bermuda, Fiona caused seriousprompting President Biden to say Thursday that the full force of the federal government is ready to help the US territory recover.
Speaking at a briefing with Federal Emergency Management Agency officials in New York, Mr Biden said: “We’re all in this together.”
He noted that hundreds of FEMA officials and other federal officials are already on the ground in Puerto Rico, where Fiona caused blackout on the island.
More than 60 percent of power customers were without power Thursday and a third of homes and businesses were without water, while local officials said they could not say when service would be fully restored.
As of Friday, hundreds of people in Puerto Rico were stranded by blocked roads five days after the hurricane hit the island. Frustration was mounting for people like Nancy Galarza, who tried to call for help from work crews she spotted in the distance.
“Everybody’s going over there,” she said pointing to crews at the base of the mountain helping others cut off by the storm. “Nobody comes here to see us. I’m worried about all the old people in this community.”
At least five landslides have covered the narrow road to her community in the steep mountains around the northern city of Caguas. The only way to reach the settlement was to climb over the thick mounds of mud, rock, and rubble left by Fiona, whose floodwaters shook the foundations of nearby houses with earthquake-like force.
At least eight of the 11 communities in Caguas were completely cut off, said Luis González, the municipal inspector for recovery and reconstruction.
It was one of at least six municipalities where crews have yet to reach some areas. People there often depend on neighbors for help, as they did in the wake of Hurricane Maria, a Category 4 storm in 2017 that.
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