Powerful Storm Fiona swept across eastern Canada on Saturday, pouring out into thousands and washing homes into the sea as it ravaged the area with fierce winds and rain “like nothing we’ve ever seen,” police said.
Two women have ended up in the ocean in Newfoundland, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police reported. One was rescued, but the other is still missing.
Channel-Port aux Basques, Mayor Brian Button, on Newfoundland’s southwestern tip, told CBC News the scene there was one of “total devastation,” adding: “This has gotten bigger and worse than we imagined. “
Rene Roy, a newspaper editor at Channel-Port aux Basques, said: “These are the strongest winds anyone in the community has ever seen. Several houses have been washed into the sea.”
As of noon, about 500,000 homes across the region were without power as the storm ravaged a large area, cutting down numerous trees and ripping roofs off buildings.
“Power lines have gone down everywhere,” Erica Fleck, assistant chief of Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency, told CBC. “It’s not safe to be on the road.”
Though Fiona was downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone, Fiona still had hurricane winds of 80 miles per hour when it stormed into Canada after previously attacking the Caribbean, according to meteorologists.
Nova Scotia hit hard
According to the Canadian Hurricane Center (CHC), the storm first made landfall in the province of Nova Scotia around 3:00 AM (0600 GMT).
In Nova Scotia, 384,000 households were without electricity on Saturday afternoon, Nova Scotia Power reported, while New Brunswick reported 32,000 and Prince Edward Island some 82,000.
“There have been trees on houses, trees on cars and buildings that have collapsed,” fire chief Lloyd MacIntosh in the North Sydney city of Nova Scotia told CBC.
Police in Charlottetown, the capital of Prince Edward Island, posted images of tangles of downed power lines and roofs pierced by felled trees.
“It’s unbelievable,” Charlottetown mayor Philip Brown said on Radio-Canada TV. “It’s stronger than Hurricane Juan in 2003.”
Nova Scotia Prime Minister Tim Houston said in a statement that “It will take time for Nova Scotia to recover. I ask everyone for their patience.”
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted: “I want you to know that we are here for you… Our government stands ready to support the provinces with additional resources.”
Canada had issued severe weather warnings for parts of the east coast, advising people to stock up for at least 72 hours.
Rainfall up to 4.9 inches (125 millimeters) was recorded in Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, the CHC said, with waves up to 40 feet (12 meters) hitting Nova Scotia and western Newfoundland.
The CHC said conditions in western Nova Scotia and eastern New Brunswick would improve later Saturday and in southwestern Newfoundland and Iles-de-la-Madeleine late Saturday night.
Puerto Rico struggles
Fiona had fled Bermuda the day before, with residents clinging and authorities urging people to stay indoors as high winds swept across British territory. No deaths or major damage were reported as the storm passed about 100 miles west of the island.
Bermuda, whose economy is fueled by international finance and tourism, is prosperous compared to most Caribbean countries, and structures must be built to strict planning codes to withstand storms. Some have been doing that for centuries.
According to US media, Fiona killed at least four people in Puerto Rico earlier this week, while two were reported dead in the Dominican Republic and one in the French overseas department of Guadeloupe.
President Joe Biden has declared a state of emergency in Puerto Rico, a US territory that five years ago is still struggling to recover from Hurricane Maria.
In the Dominican Republic, President Luis Abinader has declared three eastern provinces disaster areas.
As the Caribbean licked its wounds from Fiona, Cuba, Jamaica and Florida braced themselves on Saturday for the arrival of Tropical Storm Ian, which is expected to gain strength in the coming days to reach “at or near high hurricane strength,” the said. NHC.
In anticipation of the storm, NASA canceled the scheduled Tuesday launch of its historic unmanned mission to the moon.